Aromatic and arginine content drives multiphasic condensation of protein-RNA mixtures

Pin Yu Chew, Jerelle A. Joseph, Rosana Collepardo-Guevara, Aleks Reinhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Multiphasic architectures are found ubiquitously in biomolecular condensates and are thought to have important implications for the organization of multiple chemical reactions within the same compartment. Many of these multiphasic condensates contain RNA in addition to proteins. Here, we investigate the importance of different interactions in multiphasic condensates comprising two different proteins and RNA using computer simulations with a residue-resolution coarse-grained model of proteins and RNA. We find that in multilayered condensates containing RNA in both phases, protein-RNA interactions dominate, with aromatic residues and arginine forming the key stabilizing interactions. The total aromatic and arginine content of the two proteins must be appreciably different for distinct phases to form, and we show that this difference increases as the system is driven toward greater multiphasicity. Using the trends observed in the different interaction energies of this system, we demonstrate that we can also construct multilayered condensates with RNA preferentially concentrated in one phase. The “rules” identified can thus enable the design of synthetic multiphasic condensates to facilitate further study of their organization and function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1342-1355
Number of pages14
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 4 2024
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics


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