Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Synthetic prion causes neurological disease in mice

30.07.2004


Scientists have produced a prion protein that can trigger the development of a neurological disorder in mice that is similar to "mad cow" disease, according to a new study supported by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), a part of the National Institutes of Health. The findings demonstrate that prions, an unusual class of infectious proteins, can make copies of themselves without the presence of viral DNA or RNA, damage brain tissue, and cause neurological diseases.



The work by Nobel Laureate Stanley B. Prusiner, M.D., and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco, and Heinrich-Heine Universitat in Germany, appears in the July 30, 2004, issue of Science. For the study, Dr. Prusiner and his colleagues produced prion protein fragments in bacteria, folded them into larger protein structures called amyloid fibrils, and then injected them into the brains of susceptible mice. The mice began exhibiting symptoms of disease in their central nervous systems between 380 and 660 days after they were given the synthetic prion proteins. The amyloid form of the prion protein, which is thought to cause prion disease, was also found in the brains of the diseased mice. The researchers then administered brain extracts from these animals to another group of mice, which subsequently developed similar symptoms 90 to 150 days later. The disorder seems to be distinct from that caused by other known strains of prions, suggesting that the synthetic prion didn’t merely activate a pre-existing prion in these mice and that the synthesized prion protein itself is sufficient to make infectious and disease-causing prions.

Prusiner received the 1997 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his discovery of prions. Unlike viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites, prions contain no DNA or RNA. Instead, they are a type of protein normally found within cells in humans and other organisms. In some cases, the structure of prions can change into a disease-causing form. These abnormal proteins appear to convert other, normal prions to the abnormal shape. Many scientists now believe this conversion process leads to several dementing diseases in humans, including Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Similar diseases in animals include bovine spongiform encephalopathy ("mad cow" disease) in cattle and scrapie in sheep.


Abnormal, misfolded proteins contribute to other age-related neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and so these new findings may provide insights into the cause and possible prevention of other brain disorders.

Doug Dollemore | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nia.hih.gov

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute

nachricht Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>