|Prion protein in red on dendritic cell beside neuron (green)|
I'm going to change that now.
I'm going to take a look at prions - the dangerous proteins behind the fatal brain disorders such as: Kuru, mad-cow disease and scrapie, also known as 'Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies' or TSE's.
A paper published last week in PLoS Pathogens really highlights an issue that comes up a fair bit in this blog, that is: how pathogens - in this case prion proteins - exploit your immune system to promote their own survival. And in particular, how these molecular parasites make use of one cell: the dendritic cell. This work comes from the Medical Research Council's Prion Unit in the UK.