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 Nanocages in the lab and in the computer: how DNA-based dendrimers transport nanoparticles
19.10.2018 | University of Vienna

nachricht Less animal experiments on the horizon: Multi-organ chip awarded
19.10.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Werkstoff- und Strahltechnik IWS

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Goodbye, silicon? On the way to new electronic materials with metal-organic networks

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz (Germany) together with scientists from Dresden, Leipzig, Sofia (Bulgaria) and Madrid (Spain) have now developed and characterized a novel, metal-organic material which displays electrical properties mimicking those of highly crystalline silicon. The material which can easily be fabricated at room temperature could serve as a replacement for expensive conventional inorganic materials used in optoelectronics.

Silicon, a so called semiconductor, is currently widely employed for the development of components such as solar cells, LEDs or computer chips. High purity...

Im Focus: Storage & Transport of highly volatile Gases made safer & cheaper by the use of “Kinetic Trapping"

Augsburg chemists present a new technology for compressing, storing and transporting highly volatile gases in porous frameworks/New prospects for gas-powered vehicles

Storage of highly volatile gases has always been a major technological challenge, not least for use in the automotive sector, for, for example, methane or...

Im Focus: Disrupting crystalline order to restore superfluidity

When we put water in a freezer, water molecules crystallize and form ice. This change from one phase of matter to another is called a phase transition. While this transition, and countless others that occur in nature, typically takes place at the same fixed conditions, such as the freezing point, one can ask how it can be influenced in a controlled way.

We are all familiar with such control of the freezing transition, as it is an essential ingredient in the art of making a sorbet or a slushy. To make a cold...

Im Focus: Micro energy harvesters for the Internet of Things

Fraunhofer IWS Dresden scientists print electronic layers with polymer ink

Thin organic layers provide machines and equipment with new functions. They enable, for example, tiny energy recuperators. In future, these will be installed...

Im Focus: Dynamik einzelner Proteine

Neue Messmethode erlaubt es Forschenden, die Bewegung von Molekülen lange und genau zu verfolgen

Das Zusammenspiel aus Struktur und Dynamik bestimmt die Funktion von Proteinen, den molekularen Werkzeugen der Zelle. Durch Fortschritte in der...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Conference to pave the way for new therapies

17.10.2018 | Event News

Berlin5GWeek: Private industrial networks and temporary 5G connectivity islands

16.10.2018 | Event News

5th International Conference on Cellular Materials (CellMAT), Scientific Programme online

02.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nanocages in the lab and in the computer: how DNA-based dendrimers transport nanoparticles

19.10.2018 | Life Sciences

Thin films from Braunschweig on the way to Mercury

19.10.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

App-App-Hooray! - Innovative Kits for AR Applications

19.10.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>