Phase separation modulates the assembly and dynamics of a polarity-related scaffold-signaling hub

Nat Commun. 2022 Nov 23;13(1):7181. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-35000-2.

ABSTRACT

Asymmetric cell division (ACD) produces morphologically and behaviorally distinct cells and is the primary way to generate cell diversity. In the model bacterium Caulobacter crescentus, the polarization of distinct scaffold-signaling hubs at the swarmer and stalked cell poles constitutes the basis of ACD. However, mechanisms involved in the formation of these hubs remain elusive. Here, we show that a swarmer-cell-pole scaffold, PodJ, forms biomolecular condensates both in vitro and in living cells via phase separation. The coiled-coil 4-6 and the intrinsically disordered regions are the primary domains that contribute to biomolecular condensate generation and signaling protein recruitment in PodJ. Moreover, a negative regulation of PodJ phase separation by the stalked-cell-pole scaffold protein SpmX is revealed. SpmX impedes PodJ cell-pole accumulation and affects its recruitment ability. Together, by modulating the assembly and dynamics of scaffold-signaling hubs, phase separation may serve as a general biophysical mechanism that underlies the regulation of ACD in bacteria and other organisms.

PMID:36418326 | DOI:10.1038/s41467-022-35000-2

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