Research NewsBiochemistry

Yeast Protein Acting Alone Triggers Prion-Like Process

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Science  18 Jul 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5324, pp. 314
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5324.314

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A growing body of circumstantial evidence has convinced many researchers that rogue proteins, called prions, are the villains behind diseases like Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans and "mad cow disease" in cattle. But definitive proof is lacking. Now, researchers studying a similar phenomenon in yeast report on page 381 that in the test tube, a purified protein acting alone can cause changes in other protein molecules, converting them into an insoluble lump like those seen in prion diseases.