Proline-rich domain of human ALIX contains multiple TSG101-UEV interaction sites and forms phosphorylation-mediated reversible amyloids

Ruben D. Elias, Wen Ma, Rodolfo Ghirlando, Charles D. Schwieters, Vijay S. Reddy, Lalit Deshmukh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Proline-rich domains (PRDs) are among the most prevalent signaling modules of eukaryotes but often unexplored by biophysical techniques as their heterologous recombinant expression poses significant difficulties. Using a “divide-and-conquer” approach, we present a detailed investigation of a PRD (166 residues; ∼30% prolines) belonging to a human protein ALIX, a versatile adaptor protein involved in essential cellular processes including ESCRT-mediated membrane remodeling, cell adhesion, and apoptosis. In solution, the N-terminal fragment of ALIX-PRD is dynamically disordered. It contains three tandem sequentially similar proline-rich motifs that compete for a single binding site on its signaling partner, TSG101-UEV, as evidenced by heteronuclear NMR spectroscopy. Global fitting of relaxation dispersion data, measured as a function of TSG101-UEV concentration, allowed precise quantitation of these interactions. In contrast to the soluble N-terminal portion, the C-terminal tyrosine-rich fragment of ALIX-PRD forms amyloid fibrils and viscous gels validated using dye-binding assays with amyloid-specific probes, congo red and thioflavin T (ThT), and visualized by transmission electron microscopy. Remarkably, fibrils dissolve at low temperatures (2 to 6 °C) or upon hyperphosphorylation with Src kinase. Aggregation kinetics monitored by ThT fluorescence shows that charge repulsion dictates phosphorylation-mediated fibril dissolution and that the hydrophobic effect drives fibril formation. These data illuminate the mechanistic interplay between interactions of ALIX-PRD with TSG101-UEV and polymerization of ALIX-PRD and its central role in regulating ALIX function. This study also demonstrates the broad functional repertoires of PRDs and uncovers the impact of posttranslational modifications in the modulation of reversible amyloids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24274-24284
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number39
StatePublished - Sep 29 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.


  • Amyloids
  • Intrinsically disordered protein
  • NMR
  • Posttranslational modifications
  • Signal transduction


Dive into the research topics of 'Proline-rich domain of human ALIX contains multiple TSG101-UEV interaction sites and forms phosphorylation-mediated reversible amyloids'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this