IUBio Biosequences .. Software .. Molbio soft .. Network News .. FTP

Prion hypothesis discussion...any takers?

Tracy Aquilla aquilla at salus.med.uvm.edu
Wed Jul 31 15:59:18 EST 1996


I'm interested in discussing the prion hypothesis with biologists and
figured this NG might be as good as any place to start. Anyone else
read the "special news report" on prions in Science 273(5272):184-189
(July 12, 1996)? I found it interesting and informative, but having
been trained extensively in virology, I find the prion hypothesis
somewhat unpalatable. I'm more comfortable with the idea that a virus
of some kind is involved. Searching for clues as to the potential
sources of the so-called 'helper' molecules that some pose may be
neccessary for 'fliping' proteins to the infective state, I found that
some prion genes have multiple ORFs. Specifically the bovine and ovine
prion protein genes have long ORFs on both DNA strands. I'm thinking
about surveying other prion protein genes as well, and if they all
have this feature in common, I'd say that's significant. Since this
phenomenon (ORFs on same DNA segment but on opposite strands) is known
to occur in baculoviruses, this led me to conclude that: prions may
have a viral origin, and there may be multiple protein species encoded
by these genes. Any comments? Tracy

Thomas T. Aquilla, Ph.D.         .***.   .***.           .***.   .***.
Molecular Physiology and Biophysics    * | | | *       * | | | * | | |
* University of Vermont Medical College*   * | | | *   * | | | *   * |
| | *   Health Science Complex, Given E-213*       * | | | * | | | *  
    * | | | * Burlington, VT 05405-0068    '***'           '***'  
'***'           '***'

***********************************
Thomas Pfitzner
Moderator bionet.virology
University of Saarland, Homburg/Saar, Germany



More information about the Virology mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net