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Unweaving amyloid fibers to solve prion puzzles

een other species, she notes: "In fact, some type of prions from infected hamsters can't make the species jump into mice, while others do, and vice versa."

While the results of this research are clearly of interest to scientists investigating conditions such as Alzheimer's, it's also relevant to scientists studying nanotechnology. In March of 2003, Lindquist published a paper in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in which she described how amyloid fibers can become the core of nanoscale electrical wires, opening the possibility of one day incorporating them into integrated circuits.

"These findings are quite relevant for the material sciences," says Lindquist. "The more we understand about how these fibers work, the more we can get them to self-assemble," a key advantage for nanoscale devices that are very difficult to manipulate directly. In addition, amyloids are also unusually robust, which also makes them attractive for nano devices. The advantage of the yeast protein is that it is not toxic, even for yeast.


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Source:Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research


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