A complex network of interdomain interactions underlies the conformational ensemble of monomeric TDP-43 and modulates its phase behavior. Academic Article uri icon


  • TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) is a multidomain protein involved in the regulation of RNA processing, and its aggregates have been observed in neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Numerous studies indicate TDP-43 can undergo liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) in vitro and is a component of biological condensates. Homo-oligomerization via the folded N-terminal domain (aa:1-77) and the conserved helical region (aa:319-341) of the disordered, C-terminal domain is found to be an important driver of TDP-43 phase separation. However, a comprehensive molecular view of TDP-43 phase separation, particularly regarding the nature of heterodomain interactions, is lacking due to the challenges associated with its stability and purification. Here, we utilize all-atom and coarse-grained (CG) molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to uncover the network of interdomain interactions implicated in TDP-43 phase separation. All-atom simulations uncovered the presence of transient, interdomain interactions involving flexible linkers, RNA-recognition motif (RRM) domains and a charged segment of disordered C-terminal domain (CTD). CG simulations indicate these inter-domain interactions which affect the conformational landscape of TDP-43 in the dilute phase are also prevalent in the condensed phase. Finally, sequence and surface charge distribution analysis coupled with all-atom simulations (at high salt) confirmed that the transient interdomain contacts are predominantly electrostatic in nature. Overall, our findings from multiscale simulations lead to a greater appreciation of the complex interaction network underlying the structural landscape and phase separation of TDP-43. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • Protein Sci

altmetric score

  • 10

author list (cited authors)

  • Mohanty, P., Rizuan, A., Kim, Y. C., Fawzi, N. L., & Mittal, J.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Mohanty, Priyesh||Rizuan, Azamat||Kim, Young C||Fawzi, Nicolas L||Mittal, Jeetain

publication date

  • December 2023