Author(s): Prusiner SB
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Abstract Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and human Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) are among the most notable central nervous system degenerative disorders caused by prions. CJD may present as a sporadic, genetic, or infectious illness. Prions are transmissible particles that are devoid of nucleic acid and seem to be composed exclusively of a modified protein (PrPSc). The normal, cellular prion protein (PrPC) is converted into PrPSc through a posttranslational process during which it acquires a high beta-sheet content. It is thought that BSE is a result of cannibalism in which faulty industrial practices produced prion-contaminated feed for cattle. There is now considerable concern that bovine prions may have been passed to humans, resulting in a new form of CJD.
This article was published in Science
and referenced in Biochemistry & Physiology: Open Access