Prion generation in vitro: amyloid of Ure2p is infectious.

Laboratory of Biochemistry and Genetics, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, MD 20892-0830, USA.
The EMBO Journal (Impact Factor: 10.75). 10/2005; 24(17):3082-92. DOI: 10.1038/sj.emboj.7600772
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT [URE3] is a prion (infectious protein) of the Ure2 protein of yeast. In vitro, Ure2p can form amyloid filaments, but direct evidence that these filaments constitute the infectious form is still missing. Here we demonstrate that recombinant Ure2p converted into amyloid can infect yeast cells lacking the prion. Infection produced a variety of [URE3] variants. Extracts of [URE3] strains, as well as amyloid of Ure2p formed in an extract-primed reaction could transmit to uninfected cells the [URE3] variant present in the cells from which the extracts were made. Infectivity and determinant of [URE3] variants resided within the N-terminal 65 amino acids of Ure2p. Notably, we could show that amyloid filaments of recombinant Ure2p are nearly as infectious per mass of Ure2p as extracts of [URE3] strains. Sizing experiments indicated that infectious particles in vitro and in vivo were >20 nm in diameter, suggesting that they were amyloid filaments and not smaller oligomeric structures. Our data indicate that there is no substantial difference between filaments formed in vivo and in vitro.

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