Phospho-dependent phase separation of FMRP and CAPRIN1 recapitulates regulation of translation and deadenylation

Science. 2019 Aug 23;365(6455):825-829. doi: 10.1126/science.aax4240.


Membraneless organelles involved in RNA processing are biomolecular condensates assembled by phase separation. Despite the important role of intrinsically disordered protein regions (IDRs), the specific interactions underlying IDR phase separation and its functional consequences remain elusive. To address these questions, we used minimal condensates formed from the C-terminal disordered regions of two interacting translational regulators, FMRP and CAPRIN1. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy of FMRP-CAPRIN1 condensates revealed interactions involving arginine-rich and aromatic-rich regions. We found that different FMRP serine/threonine and CAPRIN1 tyrosine phosphorylation patterns control phase separation propensity with RNA, including subcompartmentalization, and tune deadenylation and translation rates in vitro. The resulting evidence for residue-specific interactions underlying co-phase separation, phosphorylation-modulated condensate architecture, and enzymatic activity within condensates has implications for how the integration of signaling pathways controls RNA processing and translation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Cycle Proteins / chemistry*
  • Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular
  • Phase Transition
  • Phosphorylation
  • Polyadenylation*
  • Protein Biosynthesis*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Serine / chemistry
  • Signal Transduction
  • Threonine / chemistry
  • Tyrosine / chemistry


  • CAPRIN1 protein, human
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • FMR1 protein, human
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein
  • Threonine
  • Tyrosine
  • Serine