> From: Mike Lamb <mikejonlamb at earthlink.net>
> Subject: Re: Where do we go from here?
> My feeling? Prions are not alive but viruses are alive.
>> The essence of life is the replication of coded information.
> According to my understanding of prions, they are proteins which
> are folded into a useless state but they induce like proteins (of
> the same composition) into folding into the same useless state. In
> prions, mutations affect this pseudo-replication. I consider it
> like a chain of Dominoes. The prions do not really replicate, they
> undergo a chain reaction.
Exactly correct...inasmuch as there is any useful definition of
"life", it would include the concept of REPLICATION - which means
COPYING of the entire store of genetic information of the
organism. NOT merely (!) inducing other like-structured proteins
to change conformation.
Ed Rybicki, PhD
Dept Microbiology | ed at molbiol.uct.ac.za
University of Cape Town | rybicki at uctvms.uct.ac.za
Private Bag, Rondebosch | phone: x27-21-650-3265
7700, South Africa | fax: x27-21-689 7573
WWW URL: http://www.uct.ac.za/microbiology/ed.html
"Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time..."