Expanding the molecular grammar of polar residues and arginine in FUS prion-like domain phase separation and aggregation. Academic Article uri icon


  • A molecular grammar governing low-complexity prion-like domains phase separation (PS) has been proposed based on mutagenesis experiments that identified tyrosine and arginine as primary drivers of phase separation via aromatic-aromatic and aromatic-arginine interactions. Here we show that additional residues make direct favorable contacts that contribute to phase separation, highlighting the need to account for these contributions in PS theories and models. We find that tyrosine and arginine make important contacts beyond only tyrosine-tyrosine and tyrosine-arginine, including arginine-arginine contacts. Among polar residues, glutamine in particular contributes to phase separation with sequence/position-specificity, making contacts with both tyrosine and arginine as well as other residues, both before phase separation and in condensed phases. For glycine, its flexibility, not its small solvation volume, favors phase separation by allowing favorable contacts between other residues and inhibits the liquid-to-solid (LST) transition. Polar residue types also make sequence-specific contributions to aggregation that go beyond simple rules, which for serine positions is linked to formation of an amyloid-core structure by the FUS low-complexity domain. Hence, here we propose a revised molecular grammar expanding the role of arginine and polar residues in prion-like domain protein phase separation and aggregation.

published proceedings

  • bioRxiv

altmetric score

  • 11.2

author list (cited authors)

  • Wake, N., Weng, S., Zheng, T., Wang, S., Kirilenko, V., Mittal, J., & Fawzi, N. L.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Wake, Noah||Weng, Shuo-Lin||Zheng, Tongyin||Wang, Szu-Huan||Kirilenko, Valentin||Mittal, Jeetain||Fawzi, Nicolas L

publication date

  • February 2024