Proteinaceous Infectious Particles

Over the years there have been a lot of documented circumstances of diseases for which there appeared to be no cause. Only inside the late 20th century has the cause for these illnesses been brought into the spotlight. The symptoms of these illnesses are generally the loss of coordination followed by dementia, but in some cases an inability to sleep develops into dementia. These symptoms are triggered by broken regions of the brain. This harm occurs in the form of normal tissue changing to a sponge-like consistency. This is triggered by cells clumping together and dying, leaving holes in the brain. These diseases fall into the category of spongiform encephalopathies (Collinge, 1995). This kind of illness can happen in all mammals and is named following the mammal in which it is identified. For example, in cows it is called bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or far more normally known as “mad cow disease”. Spongiform encephalopathies may perhaps also take place in humans in the kind of Creutzfeldt-Jakob illness or Kuru, the latter of which was only discovered in the Fore tribe of Papua, New Guinea, members of which ate the brains of the dead as a sign of respect. Cannibalism was ended in 1958 due to wellness concerns. Just after the deaths of the 2600 afflicted persons, not a single case of Kuru has been recorded.

The lead to of spongiform encephalopathy is a modest protein called a prion, or “proteinaceous infectious particle”. The protein was found and named in 1982 by Dr. Stanley B. Prusiner of the Department of Neurology at the University of California College of Medicine. At initially, the discovery endured a great deal of skepticism due to the extended accepted theory that only microbes can result in illness, which was proposed by Louis Pasteur. The prion protein (PrP for quick) was 1st imagined when the agent that causes scrapie (the form of spongiform encephalopathy which happens in sheep) was thought to lack nucleic acid (Alper, 1972). This was determined by subjecting infected tissue to ultraviolet or ionizing radiation, each of which are identified to degrade nucleic acid. Afterwards, the tissue was injected into the brain tissue of a healthier topic. The infectivity of the tissue remained the similar. This proved that there was no nucleic acid present in the infective agent, due to the truth that if it had been a viral or bacterial infection, the nucleic acid within the virus or bacteria would have been destroyed…

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