Sequence dependent co-phase separation of RNA-protein mixtures elucidated using molecular simulations Institutional Repository Document uri icon


  • ABSTRACTRibonucleoprotein (RNP) granules are membraneless organelles (MLOs) which majorly consist of RNA and RNA-binding proteins and are formed via liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS). Experimental studies investigating the drivers of LLPS have shown that intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) and nucleic acids like RNA play a key role in modulating protein phase separation. There is currently a dearth of modelling techniques which allow one to delve deeper into how RNA plays its role as a modulator/promoter of LLPS in cells using computational methods. Here we present a coarse-grained RNA model developed to fill this gap, which together with our recently developed HPS model for protein LLPS, allows us to capture the factors driving RNA-protein co-phase separation. We explore the capabilities of the modelling framework with the LAF-1 RGG/RNA system which has been well studied in experiments and also with the HPS model previously. Further taking advantage of the fact that the HPS model maintains sequence specificity we explore the role of charge patterning on controlling RNA incorporation into condensates. With increased charge patterning we observe formation of structured or patterned condensates which suggests the possible roles of RNA in not only shifting the phase boundaries but also introducing microscopic organization in MLOs.

altmetric score

  • 4.1

author list (cited authors)

  • Regy, R. M., Dignon, G. L., Zheng, W., Kim, Y. C., & Mittal, J.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Regy, Roshan Mammen||Dignon, Gregory L||Zheng, Wenwei||Kim, Young Chan||Mittal, Jeetain

Book Title

  • bioRxiv

publication date

  • July 2020