prion protein


Definition of prion protein

: a glycoprotein found especially on the cell surface of neurons in the brain and spinal cord that sometimes occurs in an abnormal misfolded form which proliferates by inducing the normal protein to convert to the misfolded pathogenic form When the normal prion protein misfolds, it resists recycling and forms a hardy gunk. Some aspect of this process produces lethal sponge-like holes in brain cells.— Sandra Blakeslee abbreviation PrP — see prion entry 2

Examples of prion protein in a Sentence

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Why these prion proteins change in harmful ways is not yet understood. Korin Miller, SELF, "What You Need to Know About So-Called 'Zombie' Deer Disease," 20 Feb. 2019 Generally, prions are infectious, deformed versions of the normal prion protein (PRNP), which functions on the outside of healthy cells in the brain. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Camels in Africa may have been quietly spreading prion disease for decades," 26 Apr. 2018 The gnarled versions prompt normal prion proteins to deform and malfunction, setting off a cascade that leads to telltale clumps of contorted proteins. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Camels in Africa may have been quietly spreading prion disease for decades," 26 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prion protein.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of prion protein

1982, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of prion protein was in 1982

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