Publication for Laura Westergard and Heather True.
Congratulations to Laura and Heather on their newest publication in Molecular Microbiology!
Westergard, L, and True, HL. (2014) Wild yeast harbour a variety of distinct amyloid structures with strong prion-inducing capabilities. Mol Microbiol. Apr;92(1):183-193. [E-published March 7]
Abstract: Variation in amyloid structures profoundly influences a wide array of pathological phenotypes in mammalian protein conformation disorders and dominantly inherited phenotypes in yeast. Here, we describe, for the first time, naturally occurring, self-propagating, structural variants of a prion protein isolated from wild strains of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Variants of the [RNQ(+) ] prion propagating in a variety of wild yeast differ biochemically, in their intracellular distributions, and in their ability to promote formation of the [PSI(+) ] prion. [PSI(+) ] is an epigenetic regulator of cellular phenotype and adaptability. Strikingly, we find that most natural [RNQ(+) ] variants induced [PSI(+) ] at high frequencies and the majority of [PSI(+) ] variants elicited strong cellular phenotypes. We hypothesize that the presence of an efficient [RNQ(+) ] template primes the cell for [PSI(+) ] formation in order to induce [PSI(+) ] in conditions where it would be advantageous. These studies utilize naturally occurring structural variants to expand our understanding of the consequences of diverse prion conformations on cellular phenotypes.
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