Sequence effects on internal structure of droplets of associative polymers

Kulveer Singh, Yitzhak Rabin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) can form liquid-like membraneless organelles, gels, and fibers in cells and in vitro. In this study, we propose a simple model of IDPs as associative polymers in poor solvent and explore the formation of transient liquid droplets and their transformation into solid-like aggregates. We use Langevin dynamics simulations of short polymers with two stickers placed symmetrically along their contour to study the effect of the primary sequence of these polymers on their organization inside condensed droplets. We observe that the shape, size, and number of sticker clusters inside the droplet change from a long cylindrical fiber to many compact clusters as one varies the location of stickers along the chain contour. Aging caused by the conversion of intramoleclular to intermolecular associations is observed in droplets of telechelic polymers but not for other sequences of associating polymers. The relevance of our results to condensates of IDPs is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1210-1218
Number of pages9
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - 6 Apr 2021

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© 2020 Biophysical Society


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