The Prion Hypothesis

A.Ferszt aferszt at
Thu Jan 21 13:36:09 EST 1999

Sturla Molden wrote:
> In bionet.neuroscience shootingstar21 at wrote:
> : How sound is the prion hypothesis by Stanley Prusiner and how exactly does a
> : normal protein change into a shape that can cause disease and distort other
> : normal proteins into the "bad" shape? Also, specifically, what is the
> : experimental evidence for the prion hypothesis and what are the new
> : developments, if any, in the theory and in finding cures for prion diseases?
> In my opinion the prion theory is in violation of the 2nd law of
> thermodynamics. According to the theory, prions grows like
> salt crystals. The entropy of the crystal is lower than
> the entropy of the ions, but crystal growth is driven by evaporation
> of the solvent (water), which provide the entropy increase.
> In the prion case, however, the entropy of the proteins decreases
> spontaneously but this is not accompanied by a parallel
> entropy increase (e.g. from water evaporation). Consequently,
> the theory must be false. That's my opinion.
> Sturla Molden

It is perfectly possible to grow crystals *without* evaporation of the
solvent. Among other factors crystal growth is driven by the
*preference* for the atoms/molecules involved for each other over the
solvent. In the proper environment many proteins spontaneously

The theory is not disproven (which of course is not the same as proving

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