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

Recent Examples on the Web In a separate experiment, researchers in the United States and Austria used a prion protein generated by E. coli to infect hamsters with a transmissible brain disease. Amber Angelle, Discover Magazine, 3 Oct. 2010 Béringue also worked with mice that stocked the human prion protein, and exposed them to the strain that causes BSE in cows. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 30 Jan. 2012 While some investigators focus on the disease-causing version of the prion protein, others are looking into what the healthy forms of those proteins do in the body. Amber Angelle, Discover Magazine, 3 Oct. 2010 But these conditions are increasingly being seen as variants of the same disease, all stemming from the misfolding of one specific protein: the prion protein, or PrP. Vallabh and Minikel believe this protein is a suitable target for ASO treatments. Bret Stetka, Scientific American, 15 Aug. 2019 Why these prion proteins change in harmful ways is not yet understood. Korin Miller, SELF, 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, 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, 26 Apr. 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'prion protein.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1982, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of prion protein was in 1982

Dictionary Entries Near prion protein

Cite this Entry

“Prion protein.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

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