Virologica Sinica

, Volume 34, Issue 5, pp 475–488 | Cite as

Binding between Prion Protein and Aβ Oligomers Contributes to the Pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Chang Kong
  • Hao Xie
  • Zhenxing Gao
  • Ming Shao
  • Huan Li
  • Run Shi
  • Lili Cai
  • Shanshan Gao
  • Taolei Sun
  • Chaoyang LiEmail author


A plethora of evidence suggests that protein misfolding and aggregation are underlying mechanisms of various neurodegenerative diseases, such as prion diseases and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Like prion diseases, AD has been considered as an infectious disease in the past decades as it shows strain specificity and transmission potential. Although it remains elusive how protein aggregation leads to AD, it is becoming clear that cellular prion protein (PrPC) plays an important role in AD pathogenesis. Here, we briefly reviewed AD pathogenesis and focused on recent progresses how PrPC contributed to AD development. In addition, we proposed a potential mechanism to explain why infectious agents, such as viruses, conduce AD pathogenesis. Microbe infections cause Aβ deposition and upregulation of PrPC, which lead to high affinity binding between Aβ oligomers and PrPC. The interaction between PrPC and Aβ oligomers in turn activates the Fyn signaling cascade, resulting in neuron death in the central nervous system (CNS). Thus, silencing PrPC expression may turn out be an effective treatment for PrPC dependent AD.


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) Amyloid-β protein Neurodegenerative disease Cellular prion protein (PrPC



This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (31670170 and 31270209), by Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China (2018YFA0507201).

Compliance with Ethics Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Animal and Human Rights Statement

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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© Wuhan Institute of Virology, CAS 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Life SciencesWuhan University of TechnologyWuhanChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Virology, Wuhan Institute of VirologyChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanChina
  3. 3.Affiliated Cancer HospitalInstitute of Guangzhou Medical UniversityGuangzhouChina

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