Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

An Infectious Hereditary Illness?

Date:
February 11, 2009
Source:
CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange)
Summary:
Could a hereditary illness ever spread by contamination? Researchers studying Huntington’s disease have shown that the normal form of huntingtin protein can acquire an abnormal form without any modification of its genetic code. These researchers observed that clumps of abnormal huntingtin protein, characteristic of Huntington’s disease, could induce clumping in the normal form of the protein.

Could a hereditary illness ever spread by contamination? Researchers at the CNRS Laboratoire d’enzymologie et biochimie structurales, studying Huntington’s disease in collaboration with Professor Ron Kopito’s team at Stanford University, have shown that the normal form of huntingtin protein can acquire an abnormal form without any modification of its genetic code.

These researchers observed that clumps of abnormal huntingtin protein, characteristic of Huntington’s disease, could induce clumping in the normal form of the protein.

Huntington’s disease is a genetic neurological disorder causing neuron degeneration, which in turn affects motor and cognitive functions.  The illness arises due to an alteration in the gene sequence coding for huntingtin protein. When Huntington’s disease develops, huntingtin protein forms clumps that hinder normal functions and are closely linked to neurodegeneration.

Researchers at the CNRS Laboratoire d’enzymologie et biochimie structurales, in collaboration with researchers at Stanford University, have shown that huntingtin protein clumps are released from the cells where they develop and can propagate to healthy cells.  Once cells are infected, the normal form of huntingtin then starts to clump and the illness spreads. The researchers noticed that the clumps persisted over several generations of cells expressing normal huntingtin following their temporary exposure to protein clumps from Huntington’s disease. This contamination by proximity is similar to the development of illnesses caused by prions (encephalopathies associated with "abnormal" prions).

These results suggest that huntingtin protein clumps are transmissible and that their propagation from one cell to another could be a generic vector of neurodegenerative illnesses.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ren et al. Cytoplasmic penetration and persistent infection of mammalian cells by polyglutamine aggregates. Nature Cell Biology, 2009; 11 (2): 219 DOI: 10.1038/ncb1830

Cite This Page:

CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). "An Infectious Hereditary Illness?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090210134557.htm>.
CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). (2009, February 11). An Infectious Hereditary Illness?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090210134557.htm
CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). "An Infectious Hereditary Illness?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090210134557.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — A heart monitor the size of a paperclip that can save your life. The “Reveal Linq” allows a doctor to monitor patients with A-Fib on a continuous basis for up to 3 years! Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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