HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Prions act as stepping stones in evolution

When a protein misfolds, the results can be disastrous. An incorrect change in the molecule's shape can lead to diseases including Alzheimer's and Huntington's. But scientists have discovered that misfolded proteins can have a positive side in yeast, helping cells navigate the dicey current of natural selection by expressing a variety of hidden genetic traits.

What's more, at the center of this process is a prion, a protein that changes shape in a self-perpetuating way--much like the prion in mammals that is responsible for certain neurological conditions such as Mad Cow disease.

"This is the first time we've seen a prion affect a cell in a beneficial way that can determine the evolution of an organism," says Heather True, lead author of the paper, which will appear August 15 in the online edition of the journal Nature.

Previously, True and Whitehead Institute Director Susan Lindquist reported that a particular yeast protein called Sup35 somehow altered the metabolic properties--or phenotype--of the cell when it "misfolded" into a prion state. Sup35 helps guide the process by which cells manufacture protein molecules. However, when Sup35 misfolds into its prion state, it forms amyloid fibers similar to those found in Alzheimer's patients and causes the cell's protein-producing machinery to go drastically awry.

More often than not, this is deleterious to the cell. In about 20% of the cases tested, however, the Whitehead team discovered that these new phenotypes afford the yeast cell a survival advantage.

"But we still didn't know the molecular mechanisms behind this," says True, a former postdoctoral researcher in the Lindquist lab, and now an assistant professor at Washington University, St. Louis. "How exactly did the prion change the appearance of the cell?"

The answer revealed a twist in the traditional understanding of how traits are inherited.

In order for Sup35 to ensure that the cell proper
'"/>

Contact: David Cameron
newsroom@wi.mit.edu
617-324-0460
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
15-Aug-2004


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Prions offer nanotech building tool
2. Prions may play crucial role in evolution.
3. Prions are modular
4. New Evidence On How Prions Turn Fatal
5. University Of California-San Francisco Researchers Report Test That Detects Prion Diseases, Illuminates Novel Findings About Infectious Prions
6. New milestones on the path to conquering HIV drug resistance (AIDS)
7. Earstones tell fishes tale of early life in the Colorado River estuary
8. Ingenium publishes biological characterization of first mouse model for kidney stones
9. Low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets increase risk of kidney stones and may raise bone loss risk
10. Researchers link gene with kidney stones, bone loss in patients who absorb too much calcium
11. Scientists using earstones to identify red drum nursery grounds

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:8/23/2020)... , ... August 21, 2020 , ... ... Corporation has been published and is now available on the company’s global ... diffraction—serves the X-ray analysis community, presenting current news and crystallographic research. , ...
(Date:8/21/2020)... (PRWEB) , ... August 20, 2020 , ... ... that Hassan Movahhed , a Clinical Operations executive with expertise in clinical ... has joined the firm as an Expert Consultant. Throughout his career, Mr. Movahhed ...
(Date:8/7/2020)... ... 2020 , ... Nine middle school teachers from eight states ... unique professional development program that provides advanced STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) ... , Created in partnership between the National Stem Cell Foundation and The Gatton ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/15/2020)... ... ... True Terpenes , the leading platform for terpene innovation, research and development, ... medical potential of terpenes and the potential entourage effect , where the benefits ... on expanding the recently launched line of effects-based terpenes - Terpology by Dr. ...
(Date:8/7/2020)... , ... August 06, 2020 , ... ... vaccine industries, announces it has closed on the purchase of greenfield for a ... Conroe, TX and includes over 21 acres in the initial acquisition, with an ...
(Date:7/31/2020)... ... July 29, 2020 , ... Diversified Technologies, Inc. has ... be configured to drive Klystrons, TWTs, IOTs, and magnetrons. , DTI Radar ... switches in a push-pull configuration; yielding fast fall time for a capacitive load. ...
(Date:7/31/2020)... ... July 30, 2020 , ... ... life sciences industry, today announced the release of its signature product called ... Science Liaisons (MSLs) and other field medical professionals. , Beacon helps ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: