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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2014 Jun;71(11):2047-63. doi: 10.1007/s00018-013-1543-6. Epub 2014 Jan 4.

Yeast prions and human prion-like proteins: sequence features and prediction methods.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 80523, USA.


Prions are self-propagating infectious protein isoforms. A growing number of prions have been identified in yeast, each resulting from the conversion of soluble proteins into an insoluble amyloid form. These yeast prions have served as a powerful model system for studying the causes and consequences of prion aggregation. Remarkably, a number of human proteins containing prion-like domains, defined as domains with compositional similarity to yeast prion domains, have recently been linked to various human degenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This suggests that the lessons learned from yeast prions may help in understanding these human diseases. In this review, we examine what has been learned about the amino acid sequence basis for prion aggregation in yeast, and how this information has been used to develop methods to predict aggregation propensity. We then discuss how this information is being applied to understand human disease, and the challenges involved in applying yeast prediction methods to higher organisms.

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