During my study of the immune system, I came across 2 very contrasting explanation as to how prions work.
Firstly, scientific American pointed out this:
"A major breakthrough occurred when researchers discovered that the infectious agent consists primarily of a protein found in the membranes of normal cells, but in this case the protein has an altered shape, or conformation. Some scientists hypothesized that the distorted protein could bind to other proteins of the same type and induce them to change their conformation as well, producing a chain reaction that propagates the disease and generates new infectious material. Since then, the gene for this protein has been successfully cloned, and studies using transgenic mice have bolstered the prion hypothesis. The evidence in support of the hypothesis is now very strong, though not incontrovertible
However based on this website
The guess was that they infected cells by causing normal prions to become misshapen, too. That theory, though, has been proven false, though it is still commonly believed. (See Sanctuary: Bad Bad Prions from Discover, dated 9 January of this year for an example of the ongoing belief.) The first serious attack on the prion-as-infectious-agent theory was reported in Medical Hypotheses in 1997. The article makes the case that prions trigger an autoimmune response.(1) As becomes clear the more one looks into the issue, this makes sense and fits the facts as known.
The problem right now is that my campbell 11th edition textbook, which is the newest edition and just recently revised also points to the same explanation as the first source.
Which source is correct in showing the method in which prions cause diseases?