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

Prion diseases: copper deficiency states associated with impaired nitrogen monoxide or carbon monoxide transduction and translocation.

Literature concerning prion diseases and Cu metabolism was examined to determine merits of various suggestions concerning the relationship between these diseases and altered Cu metabolism. There are a number of recent suggestions that the normal non-pathogenic form of the prion protein (PrP(C)) contains Cu while the abnormal pathogenic form of this protein, PrP(SC), lacks Cu. Results of experiments showing oxidant sensitivity in the presence of ionically bonded Cu and millimolar concentrations of hydrogen peroxide were found to lack relevance. Demonstrating superoxide disproportionation and a correlation with cellular Cu2Zn2SOD activity is relevant and consistent with a role for PrP(C) in Cu endocytosis. There are also a number of recent suggestions that PrP(C) has a role in nerve transmission. Serum from mice that lack cellular PrP(C) was found to have an elevated Cu content consistent with a response to overcome an inflammatory disease. Attempts to induce a 'transmissible' form of prion disease requiring intracerebral injections of somewhat purified brain homogenates were found lacking in support for an etiology occurring as the result of oral ingestion of supposedly 'infected' tissues. It is suggested that PrP(C) is a normal Cu-dependent cuproglycoprotein of unknown function that may have a role in facilitating normal nitrogen monoxide- or carbon monoxide-mediated biochemistry.[1]


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