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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Proteasomes and ubiquitin are involved in the turnover of the wild-type prion protein.

Prion diseases propagate by converting a normal glycoprotein of the host, PrP(C), into a pathogenic " prion" conformation. Several misfolding mutants of PrP(C) are degraded through the ER-associated degradation (ERAD)-proteasome pathway. In their infectious form, prion diseases such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy involve PrP(C) of wild-type sequence. In contrast to mutant PrP, wild-type PrP(C) was hitherto thought to be stable in the ER and thus immune to ERAD. Using proteasome inhibitors, we now show that approximately 10% of nascent PrP(C) molecules are diverted into the ERAD pathway. Cells incubated with N-acetyl-leucinal-leucinal-norleucinal (ALLN), lactacystin or MG132 accumulated both detergent-soluble and insoluble PrP species. The insoluble fraction included an unglycosylated 26 kDa PrP species with a protease-resistant core, and a M(r) "ladder" that contained ubiquitylated PrP. Our results show for the first time that wild-type PrP(C) molecules are subjected to ERAD, in the course of which they are dislocated into the cytosol and ubiquitylated. The presence of wild-type PrP molecules in the cytosol may have potential pathogenic implications.[1]


  1. Proteasomes and ubiquitin are involved in the turnover of the wild-type prion protein. Yedidia, Y., Horonchik, L., Tzaban, S., Yanai, A., Taraboulos, A. EMBO J. (2001) [Pubmed]
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