Creating a protein-based element of inheritance

Liming Li, Susan Lindquist*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations


Proteins capable of self-perpetuating changes in conformation and function (known as prions) can serve as genetic elements. To test whether novel prions could be created by recombinant methods, a yeast prion determinant was fused to the rat glucocorticoid receptor. The fusion protein existed in different heritable functional states, switched between states at a low spontaneous rate, and could be induced to switch by experimental manipulations. The complete change in phenotype achieved by transferring a prion determinant from one protein to another confirms the protein-only nature of prion inheritance and establishes a mechanism for engineering heritable changes in phenotype that should be broadly applicable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)661-664
Number of pages4
Issue number5453
StatePublished - Jan 28 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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