Lipidation alters the phase-separation of resilin-like polypeptides

Zhe Zhang, Jingjing Ji, Md Shahadat Hossain, Briah Bailey, Shikha Nangia, Davoud Mozhdehi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biology exploits biomacromolecular phase separation to form condensates, known as membraneless organelles. Despite significant advancements in deciphering sequence determinants for phase separation, modulating these features in vivo remains challenging. A promising approach inspired by biology is to use post-translational modifications (PTMs)—to modulate the amino acid physicochemistry instead of altering protein sequences—to control the formation and characteristics of condensates. However, despite the identification of more than 300 types of PTMs, the detailed understanding of how they influence the formation and material properties of protein condensates remains incomplete. In this study, we investigated how modification with myristoyl lipid alters the formation and characteristics of the resilin-like polypeptide (RLP) condensates, a prototypical disordered protein with upper critical solution temperature (UCST) phase behaviour. Using turbidimetry, dynamic light scattering, confocal and electron microscopy, we demonstrated that lipidation—in synergy with the sequence of the lipidation site—significantly influences RLPs' thermodynamic propensity for phase separation and their condensate properties. Molecular simulations suggested these effects result from an expanded hydrophobic region created by the interaction between the lipid and lipidation site rather than changes in peptide rigidity. These findings emphasize the role of “sequence context” in modifying the properties of PTMs, suggesting that variations in lipidation sequences could be strategically used to fine-tune the effect of these motifs. Our study advances understanding of lipidation's impact on UCST phase behaviour, relevant to proteins critical in biological processes and diseases, and opens avenues for designing lipidated resilins for biomedical applications like heat-mediated drug elution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4007-4014
Number of pages8
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number19
StatePublished - Apr 18 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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