RNA mutagenesis and sporadic prion diseases

Abstract : The extremely low incidence of sporadic prion diseases suggests that they may arise as a rare stochastic event in otherwise healthy animals or humans. Current hypotheses for sporadic prion disease include horizontal transmission, spontaneous conversion of Prp C into Prp Sc , and somatic mutation of the Prp gene. Here, we suggest RNA mutation as a possible initial event in the etiology of sporadic prion disease. The proposed model is based on (i) the fact that in Prp-expressing cells, mutations are statistically more likely to occur in the Prp mRNA population than in the corresponding two copies of the Prp gene, and (ii) the absence of RNA repair mechanisms analagous to those found for DNA mismatch correction resulting in a relatively higher rate of RNA mutations. Here, we suggest that translation of mutated Prp mRNA could lead to the synthesis of transient Prp Sc which results in the conversion of Prp C into Prp Sc and the propagation of a disease-associated isoform. This model points to RNA mutation as a possible mechanism for the generation of sporadic prion diseases and other pathological disorders in which infectious proteins other than Prp Sc might be implicated.
Keywords : Prion RNA Mutation
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Emmanuel Garcion, Bradley Wallace, Laurent Pelletier, Didier Wion. RNA mutagenesis and sporadic prion diseases. Journal of Theoretical Biology, Elsevier, 2004, 230 (2), pp.271-274. ⟨10.1016/j.jtbi.2004.05.014⟩. ⟨inserm-02276207⟩

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