Cross-Talk between RNA and Prions

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Abstract

As concepts evolve in mammalian and yeast prion biology, rather preliminary research investigating the interplay between prion and RNA processes are gaining momentum. The yeast prion [PSI+] represents an aggregated state of the translation termination factor Sup35 resulting in the tendency of ribosomes to readthrough stop codons. This “nonsense suppression” activity is investigated for its possible physiological role to engender on Saccharomyces cerevisiae the ability to respond to stress or variable growth conditions and thereby act as a capacitor to evolve. The interaction between prion and RNA is a two way street—the cell may have adopted RNA processes in translation to govern the presence of prions and the [PSI+] prion's nonsense suppressor phenotype may exhibit different growth phenotypes by its control of translation termination. RNA processes in the mammalian cell also effect and are affected by prions.

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