Principles Governing the Phase Separation of Multidomain Proteins. Academic Article uri icon


  • A variety of membraneless organelles, often termed "biological condensates", play an important role in the regulation of cellular processes such as gene transcription, translation, and protein quality control. On the basis of experimental and theoretical investigations, liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) has been proposed as a possible mechanism for the origin of biological condensates. LLPS requires multivalent macromolecules that template the formation of long-range, intermolecular interaction networks and results in the formation of condensates with defined composition and material properties. Multivalent interactions driving LLPS exhibit a wide range of modes from highly stereospecific to nonspecific and involve both folded and disordered regions. Multidomain proteins serve as suitable macromolecules for promoting phase separation and achieving disparate functions due to their potential for multivalent interactions and regulation. Here, we aim to highlight the influence of the domain architecture and interdomain interactions on the phase separation of multidomain protein condensates. First, the general principles underlying these interactions are illustrated on the basis of examples of multidomain proteins that are predominantly associated with nucleic acid binding and protein quality control and contain both folded and disordered regions. Next, the examples showcase how LLPS properties of folded and disordered regions can be leveraged to engineer multidomain constructs that form condensates with the desired assembly and functional properties. Finally, we highlight the need for improvements in coarse-grained computational models that can provide molecular-level insights into multidomain protein condensates in conjunction with experimental efforts.

published proceedings

  • Biochemistry

altmetric score

  • 22.9

author list (cited authors)

  • Mohanty, P., Kapoor, U., Sundaravadivelu Devarajan, D., Phan, T. M., Rizuan, A., & Mittal, J.

citation count

  • 22

complete list of authors

  • Mohanty, Priyesh||Kapoor, Utkarsh||Sundaravadivelu Devarajan, Dinesh||Phan, Tien Minh||Rizuan, Azamat||Mittal, Jeetain

publication date

  • November 2022