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Cell Rep. 2013 Jul 25;4(2):248-54. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2013.06.030. Epub 2013 Jul 18.

Thermodynamic stabilization of the folded domain of prion protein inhibits prion infection in vivo.

Author information

1
Department of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA. qxk2@case.edu

Abstract

Prion diseases, or transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), are associated with the conformational conversion of the cellular prion protein, PrP(C), into a protease-resistant form, PrP(Sc). Here, we show that mutation-induced thermodynamic stabilization of the folded, α-helical domain of PrP(C) has a dramatic inhibitory effect on the conformational conversion of prion protein in vitro, as well as on the propagation of TSE disease in vivo. Transgenic mice expressing a human prion protein variant with increased thermodynamic stability were found to be much more resistant to infection with the TSE agent than those expressing wild-type human prion protein, in both the primary passage and three subsequent subpassages. These findings not only provide a line of evidence in support of the protein-only model of TSEs but also yield insight into the molecular nature of the PrP(C)→PrP(Sc) conformational transition, and they suggest an approach to the treatment of prion diseases.

PMID:
23871665
PMCID:
PMC3766954
DOI:
10.1016/j.celrep.2013.06.030
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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