How animals in the hydrothermal vent can live with the high temperature.

Davin C. Enigl enigl at
Sat Mar 30 00:13:45 EST 2002

On Fri, 29 Mar 2002 15:10:21 -0600, "Paul F. Dietz"
<dietz at> wrote:

>Perhaps they get converted to a carbonized nanolump that
>has a similar shape and can initiate the same conformational
>chain reaction in the affected proteins.
>	Paul

I don't think your nanolumps would be composed of the organic prions
themselves, because the lumps would have decomposed beta sheets,
haveins sid that  . . .  a variation on your "nanolump theory" was one
of the possibilities proposed by Paul Brown et al. in the paper New
studies on the heat resistance of hamster-adapted scrapie agent:
Threshold survival after ashing at 600°C suggests an inorganic
template of replication  --  Paul Brown, Edward H. Rau, Bruce K.
Johnson, Alfred E. Bacote, Clarence J. Gibbs Jr., and D. Carleton
Gajdusek. (I already posted the web site and in reference to Jonathan
Silverlight's post). 

This has some spectacular possibilities for inorganic self-replication
of organic biomolecules (by inorganic self-assembly):  

1)  We have Prions in a brain tissue matrix.

2)  We subject this to gradual heating up to 600C.

3)  By heating, a lot of freely moving carbon atoms are created by
partial destruction of the tissues and prions remain protected from
destruction by that carbon.  This protection is already shown to take
place by Taylor (1991) in autoclaved prion material.

4)  The prions are coated with carbon.  This would not be biologically
active because the 3-D size would be larger than the original.
However, (at least) partial 2-D (and maybe 3-D) carbon casts might
still be made of the bio-active area of the prion, i.e. forms of the
"real" bio-prions.  (This is going to be a fossilization process.)

5)  The casts might release the bio-prions and the bio-prions then get
fully denatured.  But this leave the carbon casts intact.

6)  An inorganic mineralization could take place as in crystal
formation on a molecular level making an exact ( or good enough) copy
of the organic biomolecule (prion in this case).  

7)  That inorganic positive (probably not 3-D, but, 2-D) cast could
then be a bio-mimic and could act as a catalyst on the PrP precursor
causing the CJD/BSE/TSE.

This inorganic-mimic would be more heat resistant than the orininal
organic bio-prion.  Yet, it does not survive 1000C for long.

Brown, et al. says that total destruction of prion infectivity in a
bio-medical trash sterilization chamber (even at the exit temperature
of 1000C), can not be assued at this point.

As far as I know no microorganism (actually, I mean, spores) has
survived beyond 370C for any prolonged length of time and remained
viable.  Unfortunately, I do not know the actual D-values involved.
But the above "inorganic nanolump" would leave open the possibility
for a biologically-active inorganic form of prion based on castings of
prion organic molecules.  The inorganic nanolumps could exist.  

Could more complexed inorganic-lifeforms exist or be constructed by us
based on organic castings?  This is a nanotechnology production method
in materials science already by Burkett and Davis (1995), and Burkett
and Simms (1996).


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