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.

Related Articles


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 December 18, 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 December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) — As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — A study from University of Michigan researchers found that expectant fathers see a decrease in testosterone as the baby's birth draws near. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) — Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
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