Prion Proteins pp 257-298 | Cite as

Fungal Prions: Structure, Function and Propagation

  • Mick F. TuiteEmail author
  • Ricardo Marchante
  • Vitaly Kushnirov
Part of the Topics in Current Chemistry book series (TOPCURRCHEM, volume 305)


Prions are not uniquely associated with rare fatal neurodegenerative diseases in the animal kingdom; prions are also found in fungi and in particular the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. As with animal prions, fungal prions are proteins able to exist in one or more self-propagating alternative conformations, but show little primary sequence relationship with the mammalian prion protein PrP. Rather, fungal prions represent a relatively diverse collection of proteins that participate in key cellular processes such as transcription and translation. Upon switching to their prion form, these proteins can generate stable, sometimes beneficial, changes in the host cell phenotype. Much has already been learnt about prion structure, and propagation and de novo generation of the prion state through studies in yeast and these findings are reviewed here.


Molecular chaperone Podospora anserina Prion Prion propagation Propagons Yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae



MFT and VK would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Wellcome Trust (081991) for their research on yeast prions. RM acknowledges studentship support from the FCT (Portugal).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mick F. Tuite
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ricardo Marchante
    • 1
  • Vitaly Kushnirov
    • 2
  1. 1.Kent Fungal Group, School of BiosciencesUniversity of KentCanterburyUK
  2. 2.Russian Cardiology Scientific Industrial ComplexMoscowRussia

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