The nucleus contains diverse phase-separated condensates that compartmentalize and concentrate biomolecules with distinct physicochemical properties. Here, Zuckerman Israeli Postdoctoral Scholar, Ido Sagi, and colleagues investigated whether condensates concentrate small-molecule cancer therapeutics such that their pharmacodynamic properties are altered. They found that antineoplastic drugs become concentrated in specific protein condensates in vitro and that this occurs through physicochemical properties independent of the drug target. This behavior was also observed in tumor cells, where drug partitioning influenced drug activity. Altering the properties of the condensate was found to affect the concentration and activity of drugs.
These results suggest that selective partitioning and concentration of small molecules within condensates contributes to drug pharmacodynamics and that further understanding of this phenomenon may facilitate advances in disease therapy.