Harmless Proteins Twist Into Troublemakers

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Science  05 Apr 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5565, pp. 28-29
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5565.28b

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Researchers have discovered that in the lab, some normally benign proteins can misfold in ways similar to the misfolding that contributes to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. The findings hint that a certain type of misfolding may be common to all proteins, prompting theories that cells have evolved techniques to guard against such behavior. Scientists caution, however, that the work has been limited to test tubes and that the proteins were exposed to extreme conditions.