3 years ago

Direct observation of structure and dynamics during phase separation of an elastomeric protein [Biophysics and Computational Biology]

Direct observation of structure and dynamics during phase separation of an elastomeric protein [Biophysics and Computational Biology]
Sean E. Reichheld, Simon Sharpe, Lisa D. Muiznieks, Fred W. Keeley

Despite its growing importance in biology and in biomaterials development, liquid–liquid phase separation of proteins remains poorly understood. In particular, the molecular mechanisms underlying simple coacervation of proteins, such as the extracellular matrix protein elastin, have not been reported. Coacervation of the elastin monomer, tropoelastin, in response to heat and salt is a critical step in the assembly of elastic fibers in vivo, preceding chemical cross-linking. Elastin-like polypeptides (ELPs) derived from the tropoelastin sequence have been shown to undergo a similar phase separation, allowing formation of biomaterials that closely mimic the material properties of native elastin. We have used NMR spectroscopy to obtain site-specific structure and dynamics of a self-assembling elastin-like polypeptide along its entire self-assembly pathway, from monomer through coacervation and into a cross-linked elastic material. Our data reveal that elastin-like hydrophobic domains are composed of transient β-turns in a highly dynamic and disordered chain, and that this disorder is retained both after phase separation and in elastic materials. Cross-linking domains are also highly disordered in monomeric and coacervated ELP3 and form stable helices only after chemical cross-linking. Detailed structural analysis combined with dynamic measurements from NMR relaxation and diffusion data provides direct evidence for an entropy-driven mechanism of simple coacervation of a protein in which transient and nonspecific intermolecular hydrophobic contacts are formed by disordered chains, whereas bulk water and salt are excluded.

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.