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Volume 18, Number 1—January 2012
Etymologia

Etymologia: Prion

Nancy Männikkö

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Prion [pri′on, pre′on]

From protein + infection. Nobel laureate Stanley B. Prusiner, American neurologist and biochemist, coined the word prion in 1982 to describe the noninfectious agents he proposed as the cause of scrapie. Prusiner noted that, “Because the dominant characteristics of the scrapie agent resemble those of a protein, an acronym is introduced to emphasize this feature… the term ‘prion’ (pronounced pree-on) is suggested.” Prions are now recognized as etiologic agents of other transmissible spongiform encepalopathies, including bovine spongiform encephalopathy and Creutzfeld-Jakob disease.Sources: Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary. 31st ed. Philadelphia: Saunders; 2007; The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1997: Stanley B. Prusiner [cited 2011 Oct 25]; http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1997/prusiner-autobio.html; Prusiner SB. Novel proteinaceous infectious particles cause scrapie. Science. 1982;216:136–44

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DOI: 10.3201/eid1801.et1801

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Table of Contents – Volume 18, Number 1—January 2012

Page created: December 22, 2011
Page updated: May 18, 2012
Page reviewed: May 18, 2012
The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.
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