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More Worrisome News of Prion Transmission

  1. Feb 11, 2019 at 2:53 PM #1


    Staff: Mentor

    In a recent Scientific American blog article, it was revealed that prions can be transmitted via optical testing equipment and via sterilized surgical equipment:


  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 11, 2019 at 3:09 PM #2
    Are they more difficult to denature than properly folded proteins?
  4. Feb 11, 2019 at 3:36 PM #3


    Staff: Mentor

    It would seem that they are much more difficult to denature than their normally folded counterpart.


  5. Feb 11, 2019 at 11:42 PM #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    2018 Award

    While up in Portland at the eyebank I work for today, I found out that a big reason the eyebank uses dissecting tools (like forceps, scissors, etc.) only once on recoveries (getting corneas for the recently dead) was that it takes much more that mere autoclaving to eradicate any prions that might have contaminated them.
    Besides being more expensive and involving a lot of labor, there does not yet seem to be lot of confidence which alternative procedures would be fully effective.
  6. Feb 12, 2019 at 10:19 AM #5
    It looks like that article is comparing prions to bacterial and viral pathogens, not healthy proteins.
    Maybe they aren't any more difficult to denature, and it just doesn't matter with healthy proteins.
  7. Feb 12, 2019 at 4:54 PM #6


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    Science Advisor

    Most healthy human proteins will denature under fairly mild temperature stress (typical human protein Tm values will probably be around 40-70°C). Prions, are proteins that have already denatured from their native state, but found a more thermodynamically favorable state by agreggating with other denatured proteins. These denatured aggregates are typically much more stable than a native protein.
  8. Feb 12, 2019 at 5:33 PM #7
    That makes a lot more sense to me now. Thank you.
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