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Prions - reliant on other mechanism of transmission Current...

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Gardner Yost BIOMI September 16, 2008 The Strange Existence of Prions It seems strange that a mere bundle of protein is able to self replicate, and in turn infect a host without containing any genetic material. The prion is able to do this by exploiting the genome of the cell it is infecting, similar to how viruses exploit the ribosomes of host cells. When a prion enters the brain cell of a host, it promotes the conversion of the protein PrPc, which must already be present in the cytoplasm, into PrPsc, the pathogenic form of the protein. This makes it clear how far from a form of life prions are; they are simply a misguided building block that happens to have some pathogenic and self replicating tendencies. Prions, being nothing more than chunks of protein, are not motile, therefore they are
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Unformatted text preview: reliant on other mechanism of transmission. Current knowledge is that prions are transmitted through ingestion of meat and other bodily fluids. Once in the body of the host they travel through the blood stream to reach their target: the brain. Also prions are suspected to remain in infected bodies urine, saliva, and other bodily fluids once removed from the host. Transmissions can then occur through these fluids in the environment. The prions enter the host cell and begin self replication through the PrPc, PrPsc complex. When the prions build up in the host cells they become insoluble plaques known as amyloids. The amyloids presumable burst the cell and form a characteristic spongy texture in the infected tissue....
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