Cells recognize osmotic stress through liquid-liquid phase separation lubricated with poly(ADP-ribose)

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
K. WatanabeHidenori Ichijo


Cells are under threat of osmotic perturbation; and cell volume maintenance is critical in cerebral edema, inflammation and aging, in which prominent changes in intracellular or extracellular osmolality emerge. After osmotic stress-enforced cell swelling or shrinkage, the cells regulate intracellular osmolality to recover their volume. However, the mechanisms recognizing osmotic stress remain obscured. We previously clarified that apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 3 (ASK3) bidirectionally responds to osmotic stress and regulates cell volume recovery. Here, we report that macromolecular crowding induces liquid-demixing condensates of ASK3 under hyperosmotic stress, which transduce osmosensing signal into ASK3 inactivation. A genome-wide small interfering RNA (siRNA) screen identified an ASK3 inactivation regulator, nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT), related to poly(ADP-ribose) signaling. Furthermore, we clarify that poly(ADP-ribose) keeps ASK3 condensates in the liquid phase and enables ASK3 to become inactivated under hyperosmotic stress. Our findings demonstrate that cells rationally incorporate physicochemical phase separation into their osmosensing systems.

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