Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Investigation Of Prion Folding On Cell Membranes

Date:
August 11, 2008
Source:
Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum
Summary:
Abnormally folded proteins cause a number of illnesses such as the Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease, BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) and Alzheimer’s. It is still unknown why this misfolding occurs. The first stages of folding and the onset of the aggregation of the proteins, the so-called oligomerisation, appear to be decisive for pathogenesis.

Abnormally folded proteins cause a number of illnesses such as the Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease, BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) and Alzheimer’s. It is still unknown why this misfolding occurs.

Related Articles


The first stages of folding and the onset of the aggregation of the proteins, the so-called oligomerisation, appear to be decisive for pathogenesis. The Research teams of Prof. Klaus Gerwert and Prof. Detlev Riesner in Bochum and Düsseldorf have now been able to observe the proteins in their natural environment. They investigated the structural changes of the prion protein (PrP), the trigger for Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease, by anchoring it to a cell membrane.

As summarized by Prof. Gerwert, “Much to our surprise, the reaction of a membrane-anchored prion protein differs from that of a PrP in solution. Unstructured parts of the protein fold in a manner that makes it easy for another prion protein to be adsorbed – the possible onset of the pathogenetic structure.”

Abnormal folding in replication

The prion protein is physiologically well-folded in a healthy organism, particularly within the central nervous system. If prion proteins refold, they can change into abnormally structured, infectious prion proteins. Insoluble deposits within the cells, so-called amyloid structures, which ultimately lead to the dissolution of the affected cells, gradually develop. Amyloid diseases are almost always fatal.

The binding of membranes changes the behaviour of the prions

Gerwert and Riesner are the first scientists who have been able to reproduce the situation in living cells by analyzing membrane-anchored prion proteins. They were surprised to discover that there is a difference between the behaviour of the membrane-anchored protein at the membrane and the un-bound membrane in solution, which had been the focal point of all biophysical research work to date.

The Nobel Prize Winner Kurt Wüthrich had also determined the three-dimensional structure of the prion protein on unanchored prion proteins. To cite Prof. Gerwert, “High concentrations of prion protein at the membrane result in unstructured parts of the prion protein folding in a manner that makes it easy for numerous prion proteins to be adsorbed. So-called beta sheets, comparable with two corrugated iron sheets, develop, enabling easy and perfectly fitting anchorage of the proteins.” The folding thus appears to induce the oligomerisation and possibly also the pathogenetic structure. To date, the structure of fully glycosylated prion proteins at the membrane has not been described in research reports.

Infrared spectroscopy identifies the folding

This new information could be gained by interdisciplinary cooperation of the two research teams. The team from Düsseldorf has already presented many important reports on prion research in the past. The studies on the folding of the membranes were then performed in Bochum. A new method was introduced: the prion protein was anchored to a membrane that was placed on an ATR (attenuated total reflectance) crystal.

The folding was then analyzed by infrared spectroscopy. “If an infrared ray passes through the ATR crystal, part of the radiation penetrates into and is absorbed by the attached sample,” explained Prof. Gerwert. “The absorption is just as unique for a protein structure as a fingerprint is for a human being.” In the infrared spectrum, every protein structure creates its own pattern. Changes therein are direct signs of a folding procedure.

The results of this research work are available online in the current edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. "Investigation Of Prion Folding On Cell Membranes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080811072501.htm>.
Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. (2008, August 11). Investigation Of Prion Folding On Cell Membranes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080811072501.htm
Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. "Investigation Of Prion Folding On Cell Membranes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080811072501.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) — A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
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