Scripps Research InstituteOver the past decades, prion protein is held responsible for a number of diseases. According to a latest research triggered by scientists from The Scripps Research Institute in Florida and the University College London (UCL) Institute of Neurology in England, healthy brain tissue can suddenly result in abnormal prions which are bits of infectious protein lacking DNA or RNA causing deadly neurodegenerative disease. It was explained that the metallic surface of simple steel wires acted as a catalyst in the research.

If previous investigations are to be believed, then prions bind quickly to these types of surfaces and can drive infection with significant ability. The latest findings highlight wires coated with uninfected brain homogenate to be capable of beginning prion disease in cell culture that was communicable to mice. The scientists elucidate that infected prions composed of only protein are categorized by different strains. This protein may previously be associated with early development the disease caused by it.

Even in nucleic acid genome deficiency, these toxic proteins are seemingly able to reproduce. It was ascertained that risk-free cellular prion protein (PrPC) are usually produced by mammalian cells. After a prion infection, the abnormal or misfolded prion protein (PrPSc) may change PrPC into itself by forcing it to modify its conformation or shape. During the end-stage, huge accumulations of misfolded proteins bring about massive tissue and cell damage.

Charles Weissmann, M.D., Ph.D., chair of Scripps Florida’s Department of Infectology, who led the research with John Collinge, head of the Department of Neurodegenerative Disease at UCL Institute of Neurology added, “Prion diseases such as sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans or atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy, a form of mad cow disease, occur rarely and at random. It has been proposed that these events reflect rare, spontaneous formation of prions in brain. Our research offers experimental proof that prions can in fact originate spontaneously, and shows that this event is promoted by contact with steel surfaces.”

While conducting a recent investigation, experts utilized the Scrapie Cell Assay test which seems to be highly sensitive to tiny amounts of prions. The test was employed to calculate infectivity of prion-coated wires. Many unexpected instances of infectious prions in control groups where metal wires had been exposed only to uninfected normal mouse brain tissue were examined.

Rigorous and exhaustive control tests were examined possibly designed to exclude prion contamination. It was ascertained that when normal prion protein is coated onto steel wires and brought into contact with cultured cells, a minute but immense proportion of the coated wires cause prion infection of the cells. When the protein was transferred to mice, disease continues to grow.

However, a substitute interpretation of the results is that infectious prions are naturally present in the brain at levels. They cannot be identified by conventional methods and are normally damaged at the same rate they are developed. Mental surfaces are believed to be catalyst gathering toxic prions till they are eligible for testing.

The research is published in online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).