1998 Stetten Lecture -- Mad Cows Meet Psi-Chotic Yeast: The Expansion of the Prion Hypothesis

Masur Auditorium
Clinical Center (Building 10)
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland

Start Date: 10/21/1998 3:00 PM

End Date: 10/21/1998 4:00 PM

Videocast - Susan L. LindquistStetten Lecture videocast

Whimsically entitled "Mad Cows Meet Psi-Chotic Yeast: The Expansion of the Prion Hypothesis," this year's DeWitt Stetten, Jr. Lecture will feature Dr. Susan L. Lindquist of the University of Chicago. Dr. Lindquist will tell the tale of how her work on stress-triggered heat-shock, or chaperone, proteins has helped unravel a decades-old genetic mystery: the identity of an unconventional, inherited genetic element in yeast cells called [ PSI + ]. The talk will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 3:00 p.m. in the Masur Auditorium of the Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center (Building 10) on the NIH campus.

Dr. Lindquist's group was among the first to provide biochemical evidence that the protein encoded by the yeast [ PSI + ] gene, Sup35, appears to act similarly to prions, the protein culprits that have been linked to the devastating neurological ailment Creutzfeld-Jakob disease in people and its correlate in cows, "mad-cow" disease. Her work on yeast chaperones has introduced a whole new role for these proteins in coaxing prions to aggregate into stringy fibers, and may eventually point to new therapeutic targets by offering scientists a simple model system in which to study prion-related diseases and potential therapies.

Worldwide interest in prions was heightened last year when Dr. Stanley Prusiner of the University of California, San Francisco netted the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his two decades of work on prion particles--what the Nobel committee described as a "new genre of disease-causing agents."

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences has sponsored the annual Stetten Lecture for 17 years to honor Dr. DeWitt Stetten, Jr., who directed the Institute from 1970 to 1974. Dr. Stetten had a strong commitment to basic research, especially in the areas of genetics, cellular and molecular biology, and chemistry.

The support of basic science is the main mission of NIGMS. Knowledge resulting from the fundamental, non-disease-targeted projects supported by the Institute contribute directly to the progress of research on specific diseases in the other components of NIH. NIGMS supports studies in the areas of cell biology, biophysics, pharmacology, biorelated chemistry, physiology, genetics, and developmental biology.

The Institute has supported Dr. Lindquist's work since 1978.