Bent Out of Shape

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Science  23 Mar 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5512, pp. 2343
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5512.2343

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LONDON-- When it was first proposed in the early 1980s, the notion that aberrant proteins called prions can replicate without DNA or RNA and cause infectious diseases was biological heresy of the first order. Now, John Collinge is pushing the controversy a step farther, contending that the differences between prion types is in large part determined by how many carbohydrate molecules bind to a protein. This claim has helped make Collinge one of the prion world's most high-profile scientists.