First Atomic-Level Imaging of Lethal Prions Provide Sharpened Focus for Potential Treatments
Published in Tech News.
Summary: Cryogenic-electron microscopy allowed researchers to determine the basic building blocks of prion proteins, including the placements of their amino acids.
Source: Case Western Reserve
The highest-ever resolution imaging of an infectious prion provides the first atomic-level data of how these abnormal proteins are assembled to cause fatal neurodegenerative diseases in people and animals—and how they can be potentially targeted by new therapies.
Conducted by Case Western Reserve University and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the research is available at Molecular Cell.
“These detailed prion structures provide a new premise for understanding and targeting these currently untreatable diseases,” said Allison Kraus, lead and co-corresponding author of the research and an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology at the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. “It will now be much easier to develop and test hypotheses about how prions are assembled as highly infectious and deadly protein structures.