News FocusMolecular Biology

In Yeast, Prions' Killer Image Doesn't Apply

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Science  02 Aug 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5582, pp. 758-761
DOI: 10.1126/science.297.5582.758

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Infectious proteins called prions have been fingered for causing an array of rare but horrific brain illnesses. Researchers studying these misfolded proteins have found prions in yeast and fungus; unlike those in mammals, however, they don't seem to harm the host. Now a radical new line of inquiry is casting human prions not as prototypical evildoers but more like the rare bad guys in an extended family of eccentrics.