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Title: Fibril formation and ordering of disordered FUS LC driven by hydrophobic interactions

Biomolecular condensates, protein-rich and dynamic membrane-less organelles, play critical roles in a range of subcellular processes, including membrane trafficking and transcriptional regulation. However, aberrant phase transitions of intrinsically disordered proteins in biomolecular condensates can lead to the formation of irreversible fibrils and aggregates that are linked to neurodegenerative diseases. Despite the implications, the interactions underlying such transitions remain obscure. Here we investigate the role of hydrophobic interactions by studying the low-complexity domain of the disordered ‘fused in sarcoma’ (FUS) protein at the air/water interface. Using surface-specific microscopic and spectroscopic techniques, we find that a hydrophobic interface drives fibril formation and molecular ordering of FUS, resulting in solid-like film formation. This phase transition occurs at 600-fold lower FUS concentration than required for the canonical FUS low-complexity liquid droplet formation in bulk. These observations highlight the importance of hydrophobic effects for protein phase separation and suggest that interfacial properties drive distinct protein phase-separated structures.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Nature Publishing Group
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Nature Chemistry
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 1146-1154
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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