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The Structure of PrPSc Prions
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Prion Strains and Transmission Barrier Phenomena

Virologie et Immunologie Moléculaires, INRA, Université Paris-Saclay, UR892, 78350 Jouy-en-Josas, France
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Pathogens 2018, 7(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens7010005
Received: 23 October 2017 / Revised: 25 December 2017 / Accepted: 26 December 2017 / Published: 1 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue PrPSc prions: state of the art)
Several experimental evidences show that prions are non-conventional pathogens, which physical support consists only in proteins. This finding raised questions regarding the observed prion strain-to-strain variations and the species barrier that happened to be crossed with dramatic consequences on human health and veterinary policies during the last 3 decades. This review presents a focus on a few advances in the field of prion structure and prion strains characterization: from the historical approaches that allowed the concept of prion strains to emerge, to the last results demonstrating that a prion strain may in fact be a combination of a few quasi species with subtle biophysical specificities. Then, we will focus on the current knowledge on the factors that impact species barrier strength and species barrier crossing. Finally, we present probable scenarios on how the interaction of strain properties with host characteristics may account for differential selection of new conformer variants and eventually species barrier crossing. View Full-Text
Keywords: prion strain; species barrier; strain adaptation; zoonosis; Darwinian evolution; deformed templating; structural elementary brick prion strain; species barrier; strain adaptation; zoonosis; Darwinian evolution; deformed templating; structural elementary brick
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Igel-Egalon, A.; Béringue, V.; Rezaei, H.; Sibille, P. Prion Strains and Transmission Barrier Phenomena. Pathogens 2018, 7, 5.

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