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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TWiEVO: This Week in Evolution

To a molecular biologist, the word ‘evolution’ evokes images of fossils, dusty rocks, and phylogenetic trees covering eons. The fields of molecular biology and evolutionary biology diverged during the twentieth century, but new experimental technologies have lead to a fusion of the two disciplines. The result is that evolutionary biologists have the unprecedented ability to evaluate how genetic change produces novel …

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