Biomolecular condensates comprise a diverse and ubiquitous class of membraneless organelles. Condensate assembly is often described by liquid–liquid phase separation. While this process explains many key features, it cannot account for the compositional or architectural complexity that condensates display in cells. Recent work has begun to dissect the rich network of intermolecular interactions that give rise to biomolecular condensates. Here, we review the latest results from theory, simulations and experiments, and discuss what they reveal about the structure–function relationship of condensates.

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