Prion diseases in humans and animals are due to conformational conversion of PrPC, a cellular glycoprotein of unknown function, into PrPSc, an isoform that appears to be infectious in the absence of nucleic acids. Proteins that behave as prions are also found in yeast and filamentous fungi. Although there is now strong experimental support for the hypothesis that prions are infectious proteins, two subjects have remained poorly understood: the structure of prions, and the mechanisms by which they kill neurons. In this review, we will highlight recent studies that shed new light on these important issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-357
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 4 2006


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