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Role of Cellular Prion Proteins in the Function of Macrophages and Dendritic Cells

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The cellular isoform of prion proteins (PrPC) is expressed in hematopoietic stem cells, granulocytes, T and B lymphocyte natural killer cells, platelets, monocytes, dendritic cells, and follicular dendritic cells, which may act as carrier cells for the spread of its abnormal isoform (PrPSc) before manifesting transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). In particular, macrophages and dendritic cells seem to be involved in the replication of PrPSc after ingestion. In addition, information on the role of PrPC during phagocytotic activity in these cells has been obtained. A recent study showed that resident macrophages from ZrchI PrP gene (Prnp)-deficient (Prnp-/-) mice show augmented phagocytotic activity compared to Prnp+/+ counterparts. In contrast, our study suggests that Rikn Prnp-/- peritoneal macrophages show pseudopodium extension arrest and up-regulation of phagocytotic activity compared to Prnp+/+ cells. Although reports regarding phagocytotic activity in resident and peritoneal macrophages are inconsistent between ZrchI and Rikn Prnp-/- mice, it seems plausible that PrPC in macrophages could contribute to maintain the immunological environment. This review will introduce the recent progress in understanding the functions of PrPC in macrophages and dendritic cells under physiological conditions and its involvement in the pathogenesis of prion diseases.

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Keywords: Macrophage; PrPC; PrPS; TSE; phagocytotic activity

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-03-01

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  • Protein & Peptide Letters publishes short papers in all important aspects of protein and peptide research, including structural studies, recombinant expression, function, synthesis, enzymology, immunology, molecular modeling, drug design etc. Manuscripts must have a significant element of novelty, timeliness and urgency that merit rapid publication. Reports of crystallisation, and preliminary structure determinations of biologically important proteins are acceptable. Purely theoretical papers are also acceptable provided they provide new insight into the principles of protein/peptide structure and function.
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