© CNRS Images/media 2001

First 3-D picture of a prion (The)

Reference

910

Duration

00:06:00

Production year

2001

Versions

Original material

Color
Sound

Director(s)

Denis SERGENT

Summary

Mad cow disease, like other neurodegenerative diseases, is probably due to the presence of an abnormal form of the prion, a protein found in mammalian nerve cells. A collaborative project by a team of biochemists from the Laboratoire d'enzymologie et biochimie structurale in Gif-sur-Yvette and a team of physicists from the ESRF (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility) in Grenoble has led to an understanding of the three-dimensional structure of the yeast prion.The prion crystals are positioned in the path of a beam of x-rays produced in the Grenoble synchrotron. The x-rays strike the crystals, and rays diffracted in different directions form spots on a detector. Based on the position and relative intensity of the spots, the three-dimensional structure of the prion protein can be reconstructed and modeled by computer. The researchers have observed the existence of a flexible zone inside the molecule which may be the source of the appearance and transmission of the abnormal prion.

Personnalité(s)

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