The term prion refers to the type of protein that can trigger normal proteins in the brain to fold abnormally. It is a slow process and can affect both humans and animals. The most common variant in humans is Creutzfeldt Jakob disease. It affects one in a million people annually. Also, the abnormal protein accumulates in the eye and other organs, nevertheless in the brain. Perhaps in the eye, it generally affects the photoreceptors like rods and cones.
Scientists observed that the early abnormal protein deposition in the cilia and the ribbon synapses. They analyzed mice infected with the scrapie, which is usual in sheep. By doing so, they identified both prion and retinal proteins in the mice. The abnormal proteins aggregate together near the cilia of photoreceptors thereby resisting the transporting molecules. This leads to the impairment of both rod and cone cells. Later, it noticed to have accumulated even in the ribbon synapse, which was specific tracts of the ocular and auditory nerve.
This kind of conclusion was not seen before and it added a big outcome as well. The researchers are yet to find the pathway through which other degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
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