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Nat Med. 1997 Dec;3(12):1376-82.

Complementary hydropathy identifies a cellular prion protein receptor.

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Fundação Antônio Prudente, São Paulo, Brazil.


Prions, the etiological agents for infectious degenerative encephalopathies, act by entering the cell and inducing conformational changes in PrPC (a normal cell membrane sialoglycoprotein), which result in cell death. A specific cell-surface receptor to mediate PrPC and prion endocytosis has been predicted. Complementary hydropathy let us generate a hypothetical peptide mimicking the receptor binding site. Antibodies raised against this peptide stain the surface of mouse neurons and recognize a 66-kDa membrane protein that binds PrPC both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, both the complementary prion peptide and antiserum against it inhibit the toxicity of a prion-derived peptide toward neuronal cells in culture. Such reagents might therefore have therapeutic applications.

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