Subcellular distribution of the prion protein in sickness and in health

Susan F. Godsave*, Peter Peters, Holger Wille

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

The cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) is an ubiquitously expressed glycoprotein that is most abundant in the central nervous system. It is thought to play a role in many cellular processes, including neuroprotection, but may also contribute to Alzheimer's disease and some cancers. However, it is best known for its central role in the prion diseases, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), and scrapie. These protein misfolding diseases can be sporadic, acquired, or genetic and are caused by refolding of endogenous PrP(C) into a beta sheet-rich, pathogenic form, PrP(Sc). Once prions are present in the central nervous system, they increase and spread during a long incubation period that is followed by a relatively short clinical disease phase, ending in death. PrP molecules can be broadly categorized as either 'good' (cellular) PrP(C) or 'bad' (scrapie prion-type) PrP(Sc), but both populations are heterogeneous and different forms of PrP(C) may influence various cellular activities. Both PrP(C) and PrP(Sc) are localized predominantly at the cell surface, with the C-terminus attached to the plasma membrane via a glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchor and both can exist in cleaved forms. PrP(C) also has cytosolic and transmembrane forms, and PrP(Sc) is known to exist in a variety of conformations and aggregation states. Here, we discuss the roles of different PrP isoforms in sickness and in health, and show the subcellular distributions of several forms of PrP that are particularly relevant for PrP(C) to PrP(Sc) conversion and prion-induced pathology in the hippocampus. The Authors. Published by
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-145
JournalVirus Research
Volume207
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2015

Keywords

  • Prion
  • PrPSc
  • PrPc
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neuroprotection
  • Protein misfolding
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cancer

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