Biochemistry (Moscow)

, Volume 76, Issue 13, pp 1375–1384

Interspecies transmission of prions

  • E. G. Afanasieva
  • V. V. Kushnirov
  • M. D. Ter-Avanesyan

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297911130013

Cite this article as:
Afanasieva, E.G., Kushnirov, V.V. & Ter-Avanesyan, M.D. Biochemistry Moscow (2011) 76: 1375. doi:10.1134/S0006297911130013


Mammalian prions are infectious agents of proteinaceous nature that cause several incurable neurodegenerative diseases. Interspecies transmission of prions is usually impeded or impossible. Barriers in prion transmission are caused by small interspecies differences in the primary structure of prion proteins. The barriers can also depend on the strain (variant) of a transmitted prion. Interspecies barriers were also shown for yeast prions, which define some heritable phenotypes. Yeast prions reproduce all the main traits of prion transmission barriers observed for mammals. This allowed to show that the barrier in prion transmission can be observed even upon copolymerization of two prionogenic proteins. Available data allow elucidation of the mechanisms that impede prion transmission or make it impossible.

Key words

interspecies barrierprionsPrP[PSI+]yeastSaccharomyces cerevisiae



amino acid residue


gene which encodes the PrP protein


mammalian prion protein


normal cellular form of the prion protein


infectious form of the prion protein

Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. G. Afanasieva
    • 1
  • V. V. Kushnirov
    • 1
  • M. D. Ter-Avanesyan
    • 1
  1. 1.Bach Institute of BiochemistryRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia