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The diversity and relationship of prion protein self-replicating states

Klimova, Nina, Makarava, Natallia, Baskakov, Ilia V.
Virus research 2015 v.207 pp. 113-119
models, prion diseases, prions
It has become evident that the prion protein (PrP) can form a diverse range of self-replicating structures in addition to bona fide PrPSᶜ or strain-specific PrPSᶜ variants. Some self-replicating states can be only produced in vitro, whereas others can be formed in vivo and in vitro. While transmissible, not all states that replicate in vivo are truly pathogenic. Some of them can replicate silently without causing symptoms or clinical diseases. In the current article we discuss the data on PK-digestion patterns of different self-replicating PrP states in connection with other structural data available to date and assess possible relationships between different self-replicating states. Even though different self-replicating PrP states appear to have significantly different global folding patterns, it seems that the C-terminal region exhibits a cross-β-sheet structure in all self-replicating states, as this region acquires the proteolytically most stable conformation. We also discuss the possibility of the transformation of self-replicating states and triggering of PrPSᶜ formation within the frame of the deformed templating model. The spread of silent self-replicating states is of a particular concern because they can lead to transmissible prion disease. Moreover, examples on how different replication requirements favor different states are discussed. This knowledge can help in designing conditions for selective amplification of a particular PrP state in vitro.