The GPI-anchoring of PrP: implications in sorting and pathogenesis

Prion. 2014 Jan-Feb;8(1):11-8. doi: 10.4161/pri.27892.


The cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) is an N-glycosylated GPI-anchored protein usually present in lipid rafts with numerous putative functions. When it changes its conformation to a pathological isoform (then referred to as PrP(Sc)), it is an essential part of the prion, the agent causing fatal and transmissible neurodegenerative prion diseases. There is growing evidence that toxicity and neuronal damage on the one hand and propagation/infectivity on the other hand are two distinct processes of the disease and that the GPI-anchor attachment of PrP(C) and PrP(Sc) plays an important role in protein localization and in neurotoxicity. Here we review how the signal sequence of the GPI-anchor matters in PrP(C) localization, how an altered cellular localization of PrP(C) or differences in GPI-anchor composition can affect prion infection, and we discuss through which mechanisms changes on the anchorage of PrP(C) can modify the disease process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Glycosylphosphatidylinositols / metabolism*
  • PrPC Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Protein Transport*
  • Proteolysis
  • Signal Transduction


  • Glycosylphosphatidylinositols
  • PrPC Proteins
  • Protein Isoforms