Arginine methylation-enabled FUS phase separation with SMN contributes to neuronal granule formation, Lingyao, Wang and Pilong, Li.

Published: 20 June 2024| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/b2djgksk93.1
lingyao wang


Various ribonucleoprotein complexes (RNPs) often function in the form of membraneless organelles derived from multivalence-driven liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS). Post-transcriptional modifications, such as phosphorylation and arginine methylation, govern the assembly and disassembly of membraneless organelles. This study reveals that asymmetric dimethylation of arginine can create extra binding sites for multivalent Tudor domain-containing proteins like SMN, thereby lowering the threshold for LLPS of RNPs, such as FUS. Accordingly, FUS hypomethylation or knockdown of SMN disrupts the formation and transport of neuronal granules in axons. Wild-type SMN, but not the spinal muscular atrophy-associated form of SMN, SMN-Δ7, rescues neuronal defects due to SMN knockdown. Importantly, a fusion of SMN-Δ7 to an exogenous oligomeric protein is sufficient to rescue axon length defects caused by SMN knockdown. Our findings highlight the significant role of arginine methylation-enabled multivalent interactions in LLPS and suggest their potential impact on various aspects of neuronal activities in neurodegenerative diseases.



Tsinghua University


Research Article