Herpesviruses and Alzheimer€™s Disease

Risk factors for the chronic neurodegenerative condition known as Alzheimer€™s disease (AD) include many cellular genes and pathogenic microbes. Nucleic acids of two ubiquitous human herpesviruses, HHV-6A and HHV-7, have been found at higher levels in AD brains compared with healthy controls, and appear to regulate genes implicated in risk of developing the disease.

Prions in bacteria

Bacteria do not develop transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, but they have been found to produce prions – proteins that can adopt alternative conformations with different functions. Prion diseases, a frequent topic on this blog, are caused by misfolding of a normal cellular prion protein (illustrated; image copyright ASM Press). Prion proteins are found in other organisms, where the alternative conformation …

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XMRV infection is enhanced by prostatic protein fragments

Fragments of an abundant protein produced by the prostate form amyloid fibrils that enhance infection of cells by human immunodeficiency virus type 1. These fibrils, called semen-derived enhancer of virus infection (SEVI), have been found to boost infection of prostate cells by the retrovirus XMRV. Is this evidence that XMRV causes prostate cancer? Because most …

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