Blog Pick of the Month – July 2011

Lichen sur tronc 1 By Humpapa,

The PLoS ONE Blog Pick of the Month for July is Jennifer Frazer of The Artful Amoeba for her post on prions, the proteins that are notoriously difficult to kill:

If you had to choose the world’s most indestructible biological entity, it would be hard to do better than the prion. It’s the Rasputin of biology: cook them, freeze them, disinfect them, pressurize them, irradiate them, douse them with formalin or subject them to protein-cleaving proteases, and yet they live.

But a recent paper had data that suggested that certain types of fungi (lichens) may battle these deadly proteins, and win.

[A] few [lichens] seem to produce a molecule — likely a serine protease — or molecules that can take out prions. And they may do it, surprisingly, because fungi seem to get prions too.

Jennifer, as well as all of the authors of the article, will receive a complimentary PLoS ONE t-shirt for their work.

Photo via Flickr / Humpapa