While the ultimate answers in the field of the slow unconventional viruses have not been provided yet, at least new powerful tools were constructed which, potentially, may furnish such answers. Investigators from the teams of Prusiner and Weissmann teams constructed mice without PrP . These mice were produced using homologous recombination with a 4.8 kb Prn-p gene fragment in which codons 4 to 187 were replaced by a neomycin phosphotransferase (neo) gene under the control of the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinases promotor. PrP-lacking mice, observed by a period of up to 7 months, surprisingly did not show any obvious abnormality. The last finding may suggest that PrPc, despite its ubiquitous presence, is not a protein with a function which is necessary for an integrity of an organism. However, as function of PrP is even not suspected (besides the postulated role in lymphocyte activation: see paragraph 2.2.4) these results may simply reflect the absence of knowledge where to search for.
KeywordsDown Syndrome Amyloid Precursor Protein Herpes Simplex Virus Thymidine Kinase Brain Pathol Amyloid Precursor Protein Gene
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