Navigation Links
Strongest proof yet found for prion hypothesis

UTMB scientists offer strongest evidence yet that infectious misformed proteins cause mad cow disease and other mysterious brain disorders

Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) have produced the strongest proof yet that the mysterious and devastating brain diseases known as "transmissible spongiform encephalopathies" (TSEs) are transmitted by an infectious agent composed only of a malformed protein, and not a virus. TSEs, which can afflict both human beings and animals, include mad cow disease, new-variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome, scrapie, kuru and chronic wasting disease.

This controversial "prion hypothesis" was proposed by Stanley Prusiner in 1982, and led to Prusiner receiving the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1997. Until now, however, scientists have been unable to confirm its validity by causing a TSE in normal lab animals by infecting them with malformed proteins (dubbed "prions" by Prusiner) created entirely in a test tube. Such an approach eliminates the possibility that some other agent might be causing the disease.

In a paper scheduled to appear in the journal Cell on April 21, the UTMB researchers describe the use of a method they developed called "protein misfolding cyclic amplification" (PMCA) to vastly accelerate the activity of a small number of prions taken from infected hamsters and placed in test tubes containing healthy brain proteins. When the healthy proteins had been largely transformed into prions, the samples were diluted over and over again and the process repeated, until the only remaining prions were those that had been generated in the test tubes. These were then injected into the brains of healthy hamsters, which began showing TSE symptoms within four months and, on average, died less than six months after inoculation.

"For many years, people have tried to make these infectious prions in test tubes, because what is needed to prove the prion hypothesis completely is to be able to produce this process in vitro in the absence of living cells and thus rule out the presence of a virus," said Claudio Soto, professor of neurology at UTMB and senior author of the paper. "The evidence in favor of the prion hypothesis was strong, but the final proof was still missing. Now we have supplied this proof."

Soto emphasized that a tremendous increase in efficiency of the PMCA technology played a crucial role in the work of his team, which included study co-authors Joaquín Castilla, Paula Saá and Claudio Hetz. By mimicking the natural mechanism of prion formation but doing so at a much higher rate, PMCA made it possible to produce the large quantities of prion protein necessary for the success of the experiments and opened the door to further TSE studies. According to Soto, it should also soon facilitate creating a much-needed blood test for prions, which would greatly improve current surveillance techniques for mad cow disease and its human form, new-variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome.


'"/>

Source:University of Texas Medical Branch


Related biology news :

1. Experiments provide proof of how traveling in groups protects insects
2. Experiments provide proof of how traveling in groups protects insects
3. Scientists find fossil proof of Egypts ancient climate
4. Researchers offer proof-of-concept for Altered Nuclear Transfer
5. New component of the brakes on nerve regeneration found
6. A puzzle piece found in unraveling the wiring of the brain
7. New World founders small in number
8. Norovirus found to cause travelers diarrhea
9. Pair of cancer genes found to drive both cell migration and division
10. Alien woodwasp, threat to US pine trees, found in N.Y.
11. Achilles heel of the herpes virus possibly found
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:8/29/2018)... ... August 28, 2018 , ... ... full power of positron emission tomography (PET), today launched its proprietary radiolabeling ... helping clinicians and researchers study and cure debilitating diseases, earlier, and with ...
(Date:8/23/2018)... ... ... eight-year-old mini Australian shepherd and a tripod. When Mandy was four years old, she broke ... to repair the leg and each time it was unsuccessful. Once she finally got ... veterinarian, decided to amputate. With only one front leg, mobility in Mandy’s back legs ...
(Date:8/21/2018)... FRANCISCO (PRWEB) , ... August ... ... provider of advanced software solutions for biopharma R&D, today announced that Seattle-based ... their preferred bioinformatics solution provider. Aptevo will use the Genedata Biologics ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/12/2018)... ... 10, 2018 , ... Franz Inc. , an early innovator in Artificial ... Knowledge Graphs, and Semantic Web Company , developers of the PoolParty Semantic ... develop the Noam Chomsky Knowledge Graph. This project is the first aimed ...
(Date:9/7/2018)... ... September 06, 2018 , ... The Discovery ... a meeting of “The industry’s preeminent event on novel drug targets.” BellBrook Labs’ ... tools to study these emerging targets in a quest to find new treatments ...
(Date:8/31/2018)... ... August 29, 2018 , ... A ... University of Southampton and the Institute of Industrial Science, the University of Tokyo, ... dramatically accelerate the exploration and study of hard to reach deep sea ecosystems, ...
(Date:8/29/2018)... ... 28, 2018 , ... CEO and founder of VetStem Biopharma, ... on an allogeneic (donor derived) stem cell product for osteoarthritis in canines at ... September. He is also the organizer of Breakout Session 4: Practitioner Primer on ...
Breaking Biology Technology: