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Brittle prions are more infectious

very stable. But that might have been exactly the wrong thing to do, because prions that are too stable may be the ones that are not very infectious because the aggregates are hard to break up.

"And from a therapeutic point of view, our findings suggest that effective treatment strategies for prion diseases might aim at stabilizing prion aggregates. By preventing the aggregates from being broken up to smaller seeds, their propagation can be reduced. In contrast, most such strategies now aim at preventing the proteins from forming in the first place," he said.

In future studies, Weissman and his colleagues plan to expand their analytical model to describe in more detail how prions' physical properties lead to different physiological effects. They also plan more detailed analyses to examine how the molecular structure of a prion protein gives rise to its physical properties.


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Source:Howard Hughes Medical Institute


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