Mouse Models for Studying the Formation and Propagation of Prions [Protein Structure and Folding]

May 23rd, 2014 by Watts, J. C., Prusiner, S. B.

Prions are self-propagating protein conformations that cause a variety of neurodegenerative disorders in humans and animals. Mouse models have played key roles in deciphering the biology of prions and in assessing candidate therapeutics. The development of transgenic mice that form prions spontaneously in the brain has advanced our understanding of sporadic and genetic prion diseases. Furthermore, the realization that many proteins can become prions has necessitated the development of mouse models for assessing the potential transmissibility of common neurodegenerative diseases. As the universe of prion diseases continues to expand, mouse models will remain crucial for interrogating these devastating illnesses.