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Science. 2004 Jun 18;304(5678):1793-7. Epub 2004 May 20.

Hsp104 catalyzes formation and elimination of self-replicating Sup35 prion conformers.

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  • 1Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Nine Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.


The protein-remodeling factor Hsp104 governs inheritance of [PSI+], a yeast prion formed by self-perpetuating amyloid conformers of the translation termination factor Sup35. Perplexingly, either excess or insufficient Hsp104 eliminates [PSI+]. In vitro, at low concentrations, Hsp104 catalyzed the formation of oligomeric intermediates that proved critical for the nucleation of Sup 35 fibrillization de novo and displayed a conformation common among amyloidogenic polypeptides. At higher Hsp104 concentrations, amyloidogenic oligomerization and contingent fibrillization were abolished. Hsp104 also disassembled mature fibers in a manner that initially exposed new surfaces for conformational replication but eventually exterminated prion conformers. These Hsp104 activities differed in their reaction mechanism and can explain [PSI+] inheritance patterns.

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