Asked in Prions
Prions

How could prions multiply without nucleic acids?

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05/08/2008

Prions multiply by a process which is, at present, not fully understood. The protein PrPr is present in healthy cells of all mammals, in the brain and central nervous system. It is only when the gene that creates PrPr undergoes mutation that it begins to produce a harmful strain of PrPr, the prion. Prions replicate by causing the surrounding healthy proteins to fold abronmally, turning them into prions. These newly-formed prions in turn cause other proteins to fold abnormally. This process creates vacuoles in the cells of the brain, resulting in diseases such as Creutzfeld-Jakob disease in humans, and Bovine Spongiform Enphysema in cows. Prions multiply by a process which is, at present, not fully understood. The protein PrPr is present in healthy cells of all mammals, in the brain and central nervous system. It is only when the gene that creates PrPr undergoes mutation that it begins to produce a harmful strain of PrPr, the prion. Prions replicate by causing the surrounding healthy proteins to fold abronmally, turning them into prions. These newly-formed prions in turn cause other proteins to fold abnormally. This process creates vacuoles in the cells of the brain, resulting in diseases such as Creutzfeld-Jakob disease in humans, and Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease)