The prion hypothesis: From biological anomaly to basic regulatory mechanism

Mick F. Tuite, Tricia R. Serio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

103 Scopus citations

Abstract

Prions are unusual proteinaceous infectious agents that are typically associated with a class of fatal degenerative diseases of the mammalian brain. However, the discovery of fungal prions, which are not associated with disease, suggests that we must now consider the effect of these factors on basic cellular physiology in a different light. Fungal prions are epigenetic determinants that can alter a range of cellular processes, including metabolism and gene expression pathways, and these changes can lead to a range of prion-associated phenotypes. The mechanistic similarities between prion propagation in mammals and fungi suggest that prions are not a biological anomaly but instead could be a newly appreciated and perhaps ubiquitous regulatory mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)823-833
Number of pages11
JournalNature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology
Volume11
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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