About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Prion Proteins may Activate Endogenous Retroviruses

by Medindia Content Team on September 10, 2007 at 7:31 PM
Font : A-A+

Prion Proteins may Activate Endogenous Retroviruses

A team led by the scientist Prof. Dr. Christine Leib-Mösch of the Bavarian Research Cooperation Prions (FORPRION), which ended in 2007, has confirmed that prion proteins may activate endogenous retroviruses in infected brain cells.

Prions - an abbreviation for proteinaceous infectious particles - work as a trigger to a set of diseases of the brain and nervous system, the so-called spongiform encephalopathies. These include BSE in cattle, scrapie in sheep and Creutzfeldt Jakob's Disease in humans. Prions are structural variants of a normal protein found in healthy tissues - especially in the brain.

Advertisement

The devastating effect of infectious prions is that, once they have entered the organism, they can modify the normal "healthy" prion proteins to create more infectious prions, and thus cause the illness to progress. However, as yet, little is known about the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis, the role of co-factors and the interaction of prion proteins with cellular components.

Retroviruses insert their genetic information into the genome of host cells. In the case of endogenous retroviruses, this involves retroviral infections from long ago, which were transmitted through many generations by means of the germ line.
Advertisement

Nearly ten percent of the genome of mice and humans consists of endogenous retroviral sequences that have accumulated during the course of evolution. Indeed, most structural genes of endogenous retroviruses are inactive, but many regulatory elements, such as binding sites for transcription factors, often remain active and can influence neighbouring cellular genes.

The GSF scientists infected mouse neural cells kept in culture with infectious prion proteins and subsequently analysed the expression patterns of endogenous retroviruses. The results showed that the expression of a set of endogenous retroviral sequences is influenced by the prion infection: in comparison with uninfected cells, the expression partly increased but also partly decreased - depending on the cell line and the type of endogenous retroviruses. These effects could be suppressed by pentosan-polysulphate, an anti-prion drug, which means that the influence of the expression can be attributed to the prions and not to some secondary effects.

These observations suggest that prion proteins may stimulate the production of retroviral particles by activation of endogenous retroviruses. Subsequently, these retrovirus-like particles could transport prion proteins from cell to cell, and thus spread the infection.

These studies were carried out within the scope of the "Bavarian Research Cooperation Prions" (FORPRION) in the Association of Bavarian Research Cooperations. FORPRION was founded in 2001 following the appearance of the first BSE cases in Bavaria and was financed equally from the budgets of the Bavarian State Ministry for Science, Research and Art, and the Bavarian State Ministry of Health Food and Consumer Affairs.

Through basic and applied research the consortium aims to make progress in the diagnosis and therapy of human and animal prion diseases, as well as in the field of preventive consumer protection. FORPRION linked up 25 projects, based at five Bavarian universities and in institutes of the Max Planck Society. The financial support of the Bavarian Research Cooperation Prions FORPRION ended in June, 2007.

Source: Eurekalert
SRM/J
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021 - Fighting for Rights in the Post-COVID Era
Effect of Blood Group Type on COVID-19 Risk and Severity
Woman with Rare Spinal Cord Defect from Birth Sues Doctor
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Magical Millets for Your Health Baby Food - Basics Diet and Nutrition Tips for Athletes Nutrition IQ 

Recommended Reading
New Prion Protein That may Offer Insight into Mad Cow Disease Discovered
A new research has led to the identification of a new protein that may offer fresh insights into ......
Baby Food - Basics
The healthiest baby foods can be made at home. Products from big brands that claim to develop infant...
Diet and Nutrition Tips for Athletes
Athletes can be physically fit by consuming a well balanced nutritious diet, which keeps them mental...
Magical Millets for Your Health
Millets are far more nutrient dense than wheat and rice. They are inexpensive and tasty too. Nutriti...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use