Reversible Conversion of Monomeric Human Prion Protein Between Native and Fibrilogenic Conformations Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Prion propagation involves the conversion of cellular prion protein (PrPC) into a disease-specific isomer, PrPSc, shifting from a predominantly alpha-helical to beta-sheet structure. Here, conditions were established in which recombinant human PrP could switch between the native alpha conformation, characteristic of PrPC, and a compact, highly soluble, monomeric form rich in beta structure. The soluble beta form (beta-PrP) exhibited partial resistance to proteinase K digestion, characteristic of PrPSc, and was a direct precursor of fibrillar structures closely similar to those isolated from diseased brains. The conversion of PrPC to beta-PrP in suitable cellular compartments, and its subsequent stabilization by intermolecular association, provide a molecular mechanism for prion propagation.

publication date

  • March 19, 1999

has subject area