Novel Properties and Biology of Scrapie Prions

  • S. B. Prusiner
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 172)


Over the past 40 years, an impressive array of data has been accumulated indicating that many features of scrapie, kuru, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), and Gerstmann-Sträussler syndrome (GSS) are not typical of infectious diseases. Furthermore, the past two decades have witnessed the collection of numerous experimental results which argue strongly that the scrapie agent is a novel pathogen. To distinguish the scrapie and CJD agents from viroids and viruses, the term “prion” was introduced (Prusiner 1982). Although scrapie can be transmitted to animals by inoculation with extracts of diseased tissue, whether infection features in the spread of natural scrapie is unclear (Parry 1962, 1983; M’Gowan 1914; Westaway et al. 1989; Hourrigan et al. 1979; Gordon 1966; Dickinson et al. 1965; Dickinson 1976). Some investigators have proposed that natural scrapie is a genetic disease and that its transmissibility is incidental (Parry 1962, 1983) while others have argued vehemently that natural scrapie is an infectious disease (Dickinson et al. 1965; Dickinson 1976).


Prion Protein Prion Disease Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Scrapie Agent Scrapie Prion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. B. Prusiner
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Neurology and of Biochemistry and BiophysicsUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA

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