Expanding the prion universe: prions encoded by viruses

Prions have typically a bad press being largely implicated as the infectious agents linked to fatal brain degeneration in humans and farm animals. It turns out that the ‘prion universe’ is much larger and its constituents not always so harmful. In a collaboration with a research group from Northwest A & F University in China, Professor Mick Tuite from the School of Biosciences has contributed to the discovery of the first protein from a virus that shows the properties of a prion. The virus in question is a baculovirus whose natural host is insects and the prion-forming protein plays an important role in the multiplication of the virus in its host. This discovery is published in the journal Nature Communications (https://rdcu.be/bhMSy) and further information can be found at https://naturemicrobiologycommunity.nature.com/