Journal of Molecular Neuroscience

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 195–214 | Cite as


Protein only or something more? Overview of potential prion cofactors
Original Article


Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) in humans and animals are attributed to protein-only infectious agents, called prions. Prions have been proposed to arise from the conformational conversion of the cellular protein PrPC into a misfolded form (e.g., PrPSc for scrapie), which precipitates into aggregates and fibrils. It has been proposed that the conversion process is triggered by the interaction of the infectious form (PrPSc) with the cellular form (PrPC) or might result from a mutation in the gene for PrPC. However, until recently, all efforts to reproduce this process in vitro had failed, suggesting that host factors are necessary for prion replication. In this review we discuss recent findings such as the cellular factors that might be involved in the conformational conversion of prion proteins and the potential mechanisms by which they could operate.

Index Entries

PrPC PrPSc prion conversion transconformation cofactor 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlo Fasano
    • 1
  • Vincenza Campana
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chiara Zurzolo
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Unité de Trafic Membranaire et PathogénéseInstitut PasteurParis Cedex 15France
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Biologia e Patologia Cellulare e Molecolare and CEINGE, Centro di Biotecnologie AvanzateUniversità degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II”NapoliItaly

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