Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Prions show their good side

Date:
May 9, 2008
Source:
Rockefeller University
Summary:
Prions, the infamous agents behind mad cow disease and its human variation, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, also have a helpful side. New research shows that normally functioning prions prevent neurons from working themselves to death. The findings appear in the May 5 issue of the Journal of Cell Biology.

Prions, the infamous agents behind mad cow disease and its human variation, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, also have a helpful side. According to new findings from Gerald Zamponi and colleagues, normally functioning prions prevent neurons from working themselves to death.

Diseases such as mad cow result when the prion protein adopts an abnormal conformation. This infectious form creates a template that induces normal copies of the protein to misfold as well. Scientists have long assumed that prions must also have a beneficial side but have been unable to pinpoint any such favorable traits.

In the new work, the authors found that mice lacking the prion protein had overactive brain cells. Their neurons responded longer and more vigorously to electrical or drug-induced stimulation than did neurons that had normal prion protein. This hyperactivity eventually led to the neurons' death. The results might help explain why misfolded prions cause dementia: in the wrong conformation, the prion can no longer protect brain cells from deadly overexcitement.

The findings appear in the May 5th issue of the Journal of Cell Biology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rockefeller University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. H. Khosravani, Y. Zhang, S. Tsutsui, S. Hameed, C. Altier, J. Hamid, L. Chen, M. Villemaire, Z. Ali, F. R. Jirik, G. W. Zamponi. Prion protein attenuates excitotoxicity by inhibiting NMDA receptors. Journal of Experimental Medicine, 2008; 205 (5): i13 DOI: 10.1084/JEM2055OIA13

Cite This Page:

Rockefeller University. "Prions show their good side." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080507105649.htm>.
Rockefeller University. (2008, May 9). Prions show their good side. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080507105649.htm
Rockefeller University. "Prions show their good side." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080507105649.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins