Ok Google, how could I design therapeutics against prion diseases?

Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2019 Feb:44:39-45. doi: 10.1016/j.coph.2019.03.015. Epub 2019 May 3.


A number of previous successful attempts in the search for therapeutics for a variety of human pathologies highlight the importance of computational technologies in the drug discovery pipeline. This approach, often referred to as computer-aided drug design, is unfortunately inapplicable when the precise information regarding the three-dimensional structure of disease-associated proteins or the mechanism by which they are altered to generate misfolded isoforms are missing. A typical example is represented by prion diseases, fatal pathologies of the nervous system characterized by the conformational conversion of a physiological protein called PrPC into a misfolded and infectious isoform referred to as PrPSc. Missing information regarding the atomic structure of PrPSc as well as the mechanism of templated conversion of PrPC has severely halted the discovery of effective therapies for prion diseases. In this manuscript, we review emerging opportunities to apply computer-aided techniques to target PrPC, PrPSc or to design inhibitors of prion replication, and discuss how these fast-evolving technologies could lay the groundwork for the application of entirely novel rational drug design schemes for these devastating pathologies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Design*
  • Drug Discovery*
  • Prion Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Prion Proteins / chemistry
  • Prion Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Folding


  • Prion Proteins