Are Amyloids Infectious?

  • Rodrigo Morales
  • Baian Chen
  • Claudio Soto


Misfolding and aggregation of proteins is the main feature of a group of maladies which include most of neurodegenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and prion diseases), as well as several systemic amyloidosis. Among them, prion disease are the only one known to be infectious. Current evidence shows that the infectious agent in prion diseases is the misfolded protein and that the molecular mechanisms responsible for transmissibility are very similar to the process of amyloid formation in all protein misfolding disorders (PMDs). In this chapter, we discuss the theoretical and experimental evidences suggesting the possible infectious nature of several PMDs.


Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Prion Protein Misfolded Protein Prion Disease Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy 



We thank Dr. Kristi Green for critical review of the manuscript. This manuscript was supported by a grant from the CART Foundation to Claudio Soto.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rodrigo Morales
    • 1
  • Baian Chen
    • 1
  • Claudio Soto
    • 1
  1. 1.Protein Misfolding Disorders Laboratory, George and Cynthia Mitchell Center for Neurodegenerative diseasesDepartment of Neurology, University of Texas Medical Branch

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