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Prion variants, species barriers, generation and propagation

Reed B Wickner*, Herman K Edskes, Frank Shewmaker, Dmitry Kryndushkin and Julie Nemecek

Author Affiliations

Laboratory of Biochemistry and Genetics, National Institute of Diabetes Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-0830, USA

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Journal of Biology 2009, 8:47  doi:10.1186/jbiol148

Published: 26 May 2009


Prion variants faithfully propagate across species barriers, but if the barrier is too high, new variants (mutants) are selected, as shown in a recent BMC Biology report. Protein sequence alteration can prevent accurate structural templating at filament ends producing prion variants.