Intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) represent a large percentage of overall nuclear protein content. The prevailing dogma is that IDRs engage in non-specific interactions because they are poorly constrained by evolutionary selection. Here, we demonstrate that condensate formation and heterotypic interactions are distinct and separable features of an IDR within the ARID1A/B subunits of the mSWI/SNF chromatin remodeler, cBAF, and establish distinct “sequence grammars” underlying each contribution. Condensation is driven by uniformly distributed tyrosine residues, and partner interactions are mediated by non-random blocks rich in alanine, glycine, and glutamine residues. These features concentrate a specific cBAF protein-protein interaction network and are essential for chromatin localization and activity. Importantly, human disease-associated perturbations in ARID1B IDR sequence grammars disrupt cBAF function in cells. Together, these data identify IDR contributions to chromatin remodeling and explain how phase separation provides a mechanism through which both genomic localization and functional partner recruitment are achieved.
- ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling
- cBAF complexes
- intrinsically disordered regions
- mammalian SWI/SNF complexes
- phase separation
- transcription factors