Understanding the kinetics, thermodynamics, and molecular mechanisms of liquid–liquid phase separation (LLPS) is of paramount importance in cell biology, requiring reproducible methods for studying often severely aggregation-prone proteins. Frequently applied approaches for inducing LLPS, such as dilution of the protein from an urea-containing solution or cleavage of its fused solubility tag, often lead to very different kinetic behaviors. Here we demonstrate that at carefully selected pH values proteins such as the low-complexity domain of hnRNPA2, TDP-43, and NUP98, or the stress protein ERD14, can be kept in solution and their LLPS can then be induced by a jump to native pH. This approach represents a generic method for studying the full kinetic trajectory of LLPS under near native conditions that can be easily controlled, providing a platform for the characterization of physiologically relevant phase-separation behavior of diverse proteins.
|Status||Published - 19 jan 2021|