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:1/10/2019)... (PRWEB) , ... January 09, 2019 , ... Dr. Beanlands ... Heart Institute in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He is also Director of its National ... of Medicine, in the Department of Radiology, and in the Department of Cellular and ...
(Date:1/8/2019)... ... January 07, 2019 , ... Join industry experts Julie Peacock, Client Services at ... on Thursday, January 17, 2019 at 1pm EST. , This webinar will ... clinical trial process. Featured speakers will also present a case study of a leading ...
(Date:1/7/2019)... (PRWEB) , ... January 07, 2019 , ... ... (RWD) and Artificial Intelligence solutions for precision health in oncology and other key ... J.P Morgan’s exclusive meeting of investors, entrepreneurs and executives spanning the entire healthcare ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/13/2018)... FRANKLIN, Wis. (PRWEB) , ... December 13, 2018 ... ... HACCP scope which now includes food (human) ingredient. This has been part of ... Having a Food Safety Plan and certification creates custom fermentation opportunities for MDG ...
(Date:12/5/2018)... ... December 05, 2018 , ... Leading authority on how to ... guide with his “The Referral Playbook: How to Increase Sales with Proven Networking ... proceeds will go to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA). , Itzkowich is ...
(Date:12/5/2018)... ... December 05, 2018 , ... STRmix™ – sophisticated forensic software capable of resolving ... used to convict a Wyoming man of third-degree sexual assault, a felony punishable by ... test for DNA on the couch cushions on which the sexual assault was alleged ...
(Date:11/29/2018)... , ... November 29, 2018 , ... RAGS, today announced ... by Kickstart Seed Fund, with participation from existing investor and board member Jeremy Andrus, ... Smith of Cotopaxi. The additional funding will enable the company to accelerate its growth ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: