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Mol Cell. 2007 Jul 6;27(1):67-77.

A non-Q/N-rich prion domain of a foreign prion, [Het-s], can propagate as a prion in yeast.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60607, USA.


Prions are self-propagating, infectious aggregates of misfolded proteins. The mammalian prion, PrP(Sc), causes fatal neurodegenerative disorders. Fungi also have prions. While yeast prions depend upon glutamine/asparagine (Q/N)-rich regions, the Podospora anserina HET-s and PrP prion proteins lack such sequences. Nonetheless, we show that the HET-s prion domain fused to GFP propagates as a prion in yeast. Analogously to native yeast prions, transient overexpression of the HET-s fusion induces ring-like aggregates that propagate in daughter cells as cytoplasmically inherited, detergent-resistant dot aggregates. Efficient dot propagation, but not ring formation, is dependent upon the Hsp104 chaperone. The yeast prion [PIN(+)] enhances HET-s ring formation, suggesting that prions with and without Q/N-rich regions interact. Finally, HET-s aggregates propagated in yeast are infectious when introduced into Podospora. Taken together, these results demonstrate prion propagation in a truly foreign host. Since yeast can host non-Q/N-rich prions, such native yeast prions may exist.

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