Targeting protein for Xklp2 (TPX2) is a key factor that stimulates branching microtubule nucleation during cell division. Upon binding to microtubules (MTs), TPX2 forms condensates via liquid-liquid phase separation, which facilitates recruitment of microtubule nucleation factors and tubulin. We report the structure of the TPX2 C-terminal minimal active domain (TPX2α5-α7) on the microtubule lattice determined by magic-angle-spinning NMR. We demonstrate that TPX2α5-α7 forms a co-condensate with soluble tubulin on microtubules and binds to MTs between two adjacent protofilaments and at the intersection of four tubulin heterodimers. These interactions stabilize the microtubules and promote the recruitment of tubulin. Our results reveal that TPX2α5-α7 is disordered in solution and adopts a folded structure on MTs, indicating that TPX2α5-α7 undergoes structural changes from unfolded to folded states upon binding to microtubules. The aromatic residues form dense interactions in the core, which stabilize folding of TPX2α5-α7 on microtubules. This work informs on how the phase-separated TPX2α5-α7 behaves on microtubules and represents an atomic-level structural characterization of a protein that is involved in a condensate on cytoskeletal filaments.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)