Caught in the act

时间:2019-03-08 06:02:16166网络整理admin

SINGLE molecules of the protein behind Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease may have been caught transforming into their fatal form. Transmission of the disease is thought to involve flipping a corkscrew-shaped brain protein called PrP into a flatter, pathological form called a prion. John Collinge of Imperial College School of Medicine at St Mary’s in London and his colleagues have formed prion-like structures from molecules of human PrP produced by bacteria. The researchers induced isolated proteins to change shape and link into tangled fibres like those found in diseased animals (Science, vol 283, p 1935). But whether these molecules are infectious is not clear—other promising test-tube prions have failed to pass this crucial test,