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    Ex vivomammalian prions are formed of paired double helical prion protein fibrils

    Terry, C. and Wenborn, A. and Gros, N. and Sells, J. and Joiner, S. and Hosszu, L.L.P. and Tattum, M.H. and Panico, Silvia and Clare, Daniel and Collinge, J. and Saibil, Helen R. and Wadsworth, J.D.F. (2016) Ex vivomammalian prions are formed of paired double helical prion protein fibrils. Open Biology 6 (5), p. 160035. ISSN 2046-2441.

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    Mammalian prions are hypothesized to be fibrillar or amyloid forms of prion protein (PrP), but structures observed to date have not been definitively correlated with infectivity and the three-dimensional structure of infectious prions has remained obscure. Recently, we developed novel methods to obtain exceptionally pure preparations of prions from mouse brain and showed that pathogenic PrP in these high-titre preparations is assembled into rod-like assemblies. Here, we have used precise cell culture-based prion infectivity assays to define the physical relationship between the PrP rods and prion infectivity and have used electron tomography to define their architecture. We show that infectious PrP rods isolated from multiple prion strains have a common hierarchical assembly comprising twisted pairs of short fibres with repeating substructure. The architecture of the PrP rods provides a new structural basis for understanding prion infectivity and can explain the inability to systematically generate high-titre synthetic prions from recombinant PrP.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): prion, prion disease, prion protein, prion structure, electron tomography
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Natural Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Structural Molecular Biology, Institute of (ISMB)
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 13 May 2016 09:29
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:23


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