Friday, September 28, 2007

Leaping from one false consensus to another, readers may recall that, back in April, your humble Devil wrote an article on how prions may not be the infectious agent for BSE/CJD (mirrored at Nourishing Obscurity—which is also where I was reminded of it).

I decided to get in touch with Dr Manuelidis: she responded very quickly and kindly sent me the original paper, which appeared in The Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 9999:1–19 (2006). I am now printing the paper out for my bedtime reading and I shall be posting more on this topic in due course but, at first glance, the abstract is extremely compelling.

14 comments:

Mark Wadsworth said...

"consensus"

Edwin Hesselthwite said...

pedant

anthonynorth said...

From my understanding to date, what science really knows about a prion wouldn't fill one.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Edwin, thanks.

Dusanne said...

An interesting diversion DK. Coming from a biochemistry/genetics background there has always been something about the idea of prions being the primary infectious agent that hasn’t sat too well with me. A lot of it comes down to Anthony North’s comment about how little we know – looking at the prion hypothesis, we have had the basic tools to prove it for at least the 17 years since I was a student yet have failed to do so conclusively.

Over time, we have found a viral aetiology for more and more conditions and can’t help feeling that this group of diseases will be no different, albeit perhaps with some novel twists that may explain the inability to prove this model either. It could be, for example, a virus that wreaks its havoc subtlety during a prolonged lysogenic lifecycle, after a relatively brief lytic phase of infection, long before any manifestation of disease.

Chuck Unsworth said...

"wreaks its havoc subtlety"

Help me a little, here. What does this mean?

Lord Higham- Murray said...

Are you now saying, DK that you leapt form one false consensus to another or that there was one false consensus after another?

Also, give us the abstract of the abstract and if it's compelling, we'll read it.

Tomrat247 said...

My own masters thesis in chemistry was done for the SOMES Department at Leeds working for Dr. Amalia Aggeli; her main field of study was harnessing the protein-protein interaction forces using novel small peptide units based on prion binding sites.
My own thoughts at the time were that prion vectors in disease acted like an apple corer; large supramolecular interactions in the prion would overcome the assimilated protein peptide chemical bonds and then cause the autocatalytic formation of more prion (if the supramolecular interactions are strong enough to break peptide bonds, there strong enough to synthesis them).
Thinking about it now though - this doesn't necessarily have to be the causative in TSE; just one more symptom.

Devil's Kitchen said...

I shall be posting a long article summarising the paper as a whole, James; there seems little point in abstracting the abstract; the abstract itself is relatively clear even to a non-scientist, but I want to explain how the abstract is arrived at.

AnthonyNorth, we actually know a lot about prions. The main thing that we do know is that they do not conform to Kock's rules of infectious diseases.

Further, we also know that viral particles have been found in infected tissues for some time.

What is also evident is that there is going to be a significant loss of face for the scientific community if the prion theory is shown to be bullshit: Prosiner was awarded a Nobel Prize for his "discovery".

DK

Devil's Kitchen said...

Sorry, Koch's rules of infectious agents.

DK

Roger Thornhill said...

DK: Kock's rules of infectious diseases.


Does it also follow "Boner Law§"?





§ what goes up, must come down.

Prodicus said...

Nice to see one of your shiny new ads plugging next week's Tory party conference. Keep up the good work!

Mr Eugenides said...

There should be a Kock's rule of infectious diseases. Why isn't there?

Fabian Tassano said...

"I shall be posting a long article summarising the paper as a whole."

Looking forward to reading this DK - though I've always had a soft spot for the idea of prions, and shall be sad if they turn out to be bunkum :(