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A protein particle that is the agent of infection in a variety of neurodegenerative diseases, including bovine spongiform encephalopathy, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and scrapie. Prions are the only known infectious agents that do not contain DNA or RNA. They derive from a normal body protein that becomes irreversibly misfolded, and they proliferate in the body, possibly by acting as a template for further protein misfolding.
[Alteration of pro(teinaceous) in(fectious particle).]
(Animals) any of various dovelike petrels of the genus Pachyptila of the southern oceans that have a serrated bill
[C19: New Latin, from Greek priōn a saw]
(Microbiology) a protein in the brain, an abnormal form of which is thought to be the transmissible agent responsible for certain spongiform encephalopathies, such as BSE, scrapie, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and kuru
[C20: altered from pro(teinaceous) in(fectious particle)]
pri•on(ˈpri ɒn, ˈpraɪ-)
a tiny proteinaceous particle, likened to viruses and viroids, but having no genetic component, thought to be an infectious agent in bovine spongiform encephalopathy, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and similar encephalopathies.
A particle composed of protein, similar to a virus but lacking DNA or RNA. Prions are thought to be the agent of infection of some diseases of the nervous system.
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|Noun||1.||prion - (microbiology) an infectious protein particle similar to a virus but lacking nucleic acid; thought to be the agent responsible for scrapie and other degenerative diseases of the nervous system|
microbiology - the branch of biology that studies microorganisms and their effects on humans