Reference: Lin JY, et al. (2011) Inter-Allelic Prion Propagation Reveals Conformational Relationships among a Multitude of [PSI] Strains. PLoS Genet 7(9):e1002297

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Abstract


Immense diversity of prion strains is observed, but its underlying mechanism is less clear. Three [PSI] prion strains-named VH, VK, and VL-were previously isolated in the wild-type yeast genetic background. Here we report the generation and characterization of eight new [PSI] isolates, obtained by propagating the wild-type strains with Sup35 proteins containing single amino-acid alterations. The VH strain splits into two distinct strains when propagated in each of the three genetic backgrounds, harboring respectively single mutations of N21L, R28P, and Gi47 (i.e. insertion of a glycine residue at position 47) on the Sup35 N-terminal prion-forming segment. The six new strains exhibit complex inter-conversion patterns, and one of them continuously mutates into another. However, when they are introduced back into the wild-type background, all 6 strains revert to the VH strain. We obtain two more [PSI] isolates by propagating VK and VL with the Gi47 and N21L backgrounds, respectively. The two isolates do not transmit to other mutant backgrounds but revert to their parental strains in the wild-type background. Our data indicate that a large number of [PSI] strains can be built on three basic Sup35 amyloid structures. It is proposed that the three basic structures differ by chain folding topologies, and sub-strains with the same topology differ in distinct ways by local structural adjustments. This "large number of variations on a small number of basic themes" may also be operative in generating strain diversities in other prion elements. It thus suggests a possible general scheme to classify a multitude of prion strains.

Reference Type
Journal Article
Authors
Lin JY, Liao TY, Lee HC, King CY
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