Canadian researchers identify new prion protein
The scientists, led by Dr. David Westaway at the University of Alberta's Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, report that they have isolated a prion protein called Shadoo, which is found in the brain cells of mice, humans and probably other mammals.
The protein appears to protect neurons, they reported in an article in the Embo Journal (the acronym stands for the European Molecular Biology Organization). In mice infected with a prion disease, Shadoo starts to disappear, suggesting a lack of this protein contributes to the damage done by the disease, Westaway said in an interview from Edmonton.
He said there is no evidence Shadoo triggers disease itself, but that it may "aid and abet" the disease process.