Inhibition of protease-resistant prion protein formation in a transformed deer cell line infected with chronic wasting disease.
ABSTRACT: Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an emerging transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (prion disease) of North American cervids, i.e., mule deer, white-tailed deer, and elk (wapiti). To facilitate in vitro studies of CWD, we have developed a transformed deer cell line that is persistently infected with CWD. Primary cultures derived from uninfected mule deer brain tissue were transformed by transfection with a plasmid containing the simian virus 40 genome. A transformed cell line (MDB) was exposed to microsomes prepared from the brainstem of a CWD-affected mule deer. CWD-associated, protease-resistant prion protein (PrP(CWD)) was used as an indicator of CWD infection. Although no PrP(CWD) was detected in any of these cultures after two passes, dilution cloning of cells yielded one PrP(CWD)-positive clone out of 51. This clone, designated MDB(CWD), has maintained stable PrP(CWD) production through 32 serial passes thus far. A second round of dilution cloning yielded 20 PrP(CWD)-positive subclones out of 30, one of which was designated MDB(CWD2). The MDB(CWD2) cell line was positive for fibronectin and negative for microtubule-associated protein 2 (a neuronal marker) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (an activated astrocyte marker), consistent with derivation from brain fibroblasts (e.g., meningeal fibroblasts). Two inhibitors of rodent scrapie protease-resistant PrP accumulation, pentosan polysulfate and a porphyrin compound, indium (III) meso-tetra(4-sulfonatophenyl)porphine chloride, potently blocked PrP(CWD) accumulation in MDB(CWD) cells. This demonstrates the utility of these cells in a rapid in vitro screening assay for PrP(CWD) inhibitors and suggests that these compounds have potential to be active against CWD in vivo.
Project description:Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal prion disease in deer and elk. Unique among the prion diseases, it is transmitted among captive and free-ranging animals. To facilitate studies of the biology of CWD prions, we generated five lines of transgenic (Tg) mice expressing prion protein (PrP) from Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni), denoted Tg(ElkPrP), and two lines of Tg mice expressing PrP common to white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), denoted Tg(DePrP). None of the Tg(ElkPrP) or Tg(DePrP) mice exhibited spontaneous neurologic dysfunction at more than 600 days of age. Brain samples from CWD-positive elk, white-tailed deer, and mule deer produced disease in Tg(ElkPrP) mice between 180 and 200 days after inoculation and in Tg(DePrP) mice between 300 and 400 days. One of eight cervid brain inocula transmitted disease to Tg(MoPrP)4053 mice overexpressing wild-type mouse PrP-A in approximately 540 days. Neuropathologic analysis revealed abundant PrP amyloid plaques in the brains of ill mice. Brain homogenates from symptomatic Tg(ElkPrP) mice produced disease in 120 to 190 days in Tg(ElkPrP) mice. In contrast to the Tg(ElkPrP) and Tg(DePrP) mice, Tg mice overexpressing human, bovine, or ovine PrP did not develop prion disease after inoculation with CWD prions from among nine different isolates after >500 days. These findings suggest that CWD prions from elk, mule deer, and white-tailed deer can be readily transmitted among these three cervid species.
Project description:Infectious prion diseases-scrapie of sheep and chronic wasting disease (CWD) of several species in the deer family-are transmitted naturally within affected host populations. Although several possible sources of contagion have been identified in excretions and secretions from symptomatic animals, the biological importance of these sources in sustaining epidemics remains unclear. Here we show that asymptomatic CWD-infected mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) excrete CWD prions in their faeces long before they develop clinical signs of prion disease. Intracerebral inoculation of irradiated deer faeces into transgenic mice overexpressing cervid prion protein (PrP) revealed infectivity in 14 of 15 faecal samples collected from five deer at 7-11 months before the onset of neurological disease. Although prion concentrations in deer faeces were considerably lower than in brain tissue from the same deer collected at the end of the disease, the estimated total infectious dose excreted in faeces by an infected deer over the disease course may approximate the total contained in a brain. Prolonged faecal prion excretion by infected deer provides a plausible natural mechanism that might explain the high incidence and efficient horizontal transmission of CWD within deer herds, as well as prion transmission among other susceptible cervids.
Project description:Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a highly infectious prion disease of cervids. Accumulation of prions, the disease-specific structural conformers of the cellular prion protein (PrPC), in the central nervous system, is the key pathological event of the disorder. The analysis of cervid PrPC sequences revealed the existence of polymorphism at position 226, in which deer PrP contains glutamine (Q), whereas elk PrP contains glutamate (E). The effects of this polymorphism on CWD are still unknown. We determined the high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance structure of the mule deer prion protein that was compared to previously published PrP structures of elk and white-tailed deer. We found that the polymorphism Q226E could influence the long-range intramolecular interactions and packing of the ?2-?2 loop and the C-terminus of the ?3 helix of cervid PrP structures. This solvent-accessible epitope is believed to be involved in prion conversion. Additional differences were observed at the beginning of the well-defined C-terminus domain, in the ?2-?3 region, and in its interactions with the ?1 helix. Here, we highlight the importance of the PrP structure in prion susceptibility and how single amino acid differences might influence the overall protein folding.
Project description:Chronic wasting disease (CWD), a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy of cervids, remains prevalent in North American elk, white-tailed deer and mule deer. A natural case of CWD in reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) has not been reported despite potential habitat overlap with CWD-infected deer or elk herds. This study investigates the experimental transmission of CWD from elk or white-tailed deer to reindeer by the oral route of inoculation. Ante-mortem testing of the three reindeer exposed to CWD from white-tailed deer identified the accumulation of pathological PrP (PrP(CWD)) in the recto-anal mucosa associated lymphoid tissue (RAMALT) of two reindeer at 13.4 months post-inoculation. Terminal CWD occurred in the two RAMALT-positive reindeer at 18.5 and 20 months post-inoculation while one other reindeer in the white-tailed deer CWD inoculum group and none of the 3 reindeer exposed to elk CWD developed disease. Tissue distribution analysis of PrP(CWD) in CWD-affected reindeer revealed widespread deposition in central and peripheral nervous systems, lymphoreticular tissues, the gastrointestinal tract, neuroendocrine tissues and cardiac muscle. Analysis of prion protein gene (PRNP) sequences in the 6 reindeer identified polymorphisms at residues 2 (V/M), 129 (G/S), 138 (S/N) and 169 (V/M). These findings demonstrate that (i) a sub-population of reindeer are susceptible to CWD by oral inoculation implicating the potential for transmission to other Rangifer species, and (ii) certain reindeer PRNP polymorphisms may be protective against CWD infection.
Project description:Transmission of chronic wasting disease (CWD) between cervids is influenced by the primary structure of the host cellular prion protein (PrP(C)). In white-tailed deer, PRNP alleles encode the polymorphisms Q95 G96 (wild type [wt]), Q95 S96 (referred to as the S96 allele), and H95 G96 (referred to as the H95 allele), which differentially impact CWD progression. We hypothesize that the transmission of CWD prions between deer expressing different allotypes of PrP(C) modifies the contagious agent affecting disease spread. To evaluate the transmission properties of CWD prions derived experimentally from deer of four PRNP genotypes (wt/wt, S96/wt, H95/wt, or H95/S96), transgenic (tg) mice expressing the wt allele (tg33) or S96 allele (tg60) were challenged with these prion agents. Passage of deer CWD prions into tg33 mice resulted in 100% attack rates, with the CWD H95/S96 prions having significantly longer incubation periods. The disease signs and neuropathological and protease-resistant prion protein (PrP-res) profiles in infected tg33 mice were similar between groups, indicating that a prion strain (Wisc-1) common to all CWD inocula was amplified. In contrast, tg60 mice developed prion disease only when inoculated with the H95/wt and H95/S96 CWD allotypes. Serial passage in tg60 mice resulted in adaptation of a novel CWD strain (H95(+)) with distinct biological properties. Transmission of first-passage tg60CWD-H95(+) isolates into tg33 mice, however, elicited two prion disease presentations consistent with a mixture of strains associated with different PrP-res glycotypes. Our data indicate that H95-PRNP heterozygous deer accumulated two CWD strains whose emergence was dictated by the PrP(C) primary structure of the recipient host. These findings suggest that CWD transmission between cervids expressing distinct PrP(C) molecules results in the generation of novel CWD strains.CWD prions are contagious among wild and captive cervids in North America and in South Korea. We present data linking the amino acid variant Q95H in white-tailed deer cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) to the emergence of a novel CWD strain (H95(+)). We show that, upon infection, deer expressing H95-PrP(C) molecules accumulated a mixture of CWD strains that selectively propagated depending on the PRNP genotype of the host in which they were passaged. Our study also demonstrates that mice expressing the deer S96-PRNP allele, previously shown to be resistant to various cervid prions, are susceptible to H95(+) CWD prions. The potential for the generation of novel strains raises the possibility of an expanded host range for CWD.
Project description:In order to assess the susceptibility of bank voles to chronic wasting disease (CWD), we inoculated voles carrying isoleucine or methionine at codon 109 (Bv109I and Bv109M, respectively) with CWD isolates from elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer. Efficient transmission rate (100%) was observed with mean survival times ranging from 156 to 281 days post inoculation. Subsequent passages in Bv109I allowed us to isolate from all CWD sources the same vole-adapted CWD strain (Bv(109I)CWD), typified by unprecedented short incubation times of 25-28 days and survival times of ?35 days. Neuropathological and molecular characterisation of Bv(109I)CWD showed that the classical features of mammalian prion diseases were all recapitulated in less than one month after intracerebral inoculation. Bv(109I)CWD was characterised by a mild and discrete distribution of spongiosis and relatively low levels of protease-resistant PrP(Sc) (PrP(res)) in the same brain regions. Despite the low PrP(res) levels and the short time lapse available for its accumulation, end-point titration revealed that brains from terminally-ill voles contained up to 10(8,4) i.c. ID50 infectious units per gram. Bv(109I)CWD was efficiently replicated by protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) and the infectivity faithfully generated in vitro, as demonstrated by the preservation of the peculiar Bv(109I)CWD strain features on re-isolation in Bv109I. Overall, we provide evidence that the same CWD strain was isolated in Bv109I from the three-cervid species. Bv(109I)CWD showed unique characteristics of "virulence", low PrP(res) accumulation and high infectivity, thus providing exceptional opportunities to improve basic knowledge of the relationship between PrP(Sc), neurodegeneration and infectivity.
Project description:Although the unifying hallmark of prion diseases is CNS neurodegeneration caused by conformational corruption of host prion protein (PrP) to its infective counterpart, contagious transmission of chronic wasting disease (CWD) results from shedding of prions produced at high titers in the periphery of diseased cervids. While deer and elk PrP primary structures are equivalent except at residue 226, which is glutamate in elk and glutamine in deer, the effect of this difference on CWD pathogenesis is largely unknown. Using a gene-targeting approach where the mouse PrP coding sequence was replaced with elk or deer PrP, we show that the resulting GtE226 and GtQ226 mice had distinct kinetics of disease onset, prion conformations, and distributions of prions in the brains of diseased mice following intracerebral CWD challenge. These findings indicate that amino acid differences at PrP residue 226 dictate the selection and propagation of divergent strains in deer and elk with CWD. Because prion strain properties largely dictate host-range potential, our findings suggest that prion strains from elk and deer pose distinct risks to sympatric species or humans exposed to CWD. GtE226 and GtQ226 mice were also highly susceptible to CWD prions following intraperitoneal and oral exposures, a characteristic that stood in stark contrast to previously produced transgenic models. Remarkably, disease transmission was effective when infected mice were cohoused with naïve cagemates. Our findings indicate that gene-targeted mice provide unprecedented opportunities to accurately investigate CWD peripheral pathogenesis, CWD strains, and mechanisms of horizontal CWD transmission.
Project description:Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal transmissible spongiform encephalopathy affecting North American cervids. We assessed the feasibility of association mapping CWD genetic risk factors in wild white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) using a panel of bovine microsatellite markers from three homologous deer linkage groups predicted to contain candidate genes. These markers had a low cross-species amplification rate (27.9%) and showed weak linkage disequilibrium (<1 cM). Markers near the prion protein and the neurofibromin 1 (NF1) genes were suggestively associated with CWD status in white-tailed deer (P = 0.006) and mule deer (P = 0.02), respectively. This is the first time an association between the NF1 region and CWD has been reported.
Project description:Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal prion disease of North American deer and elk and poses an unclear risk for transmission to humans. Human exposure to CWD occurs through hunting activities and consumption of venison from prion-infected animals. Although the amino acid residues of the prion protein (PrP) that prevent or permit human CWD infection are unknown, NMR-based structural studies suggest that the ?2-?2 loop (residues 165-175) may impact species barriers. Here we sought to define PrP sequence determinants that affect CWD transmission to humans. We engineered transgenic mice that express human PrP with four amino acid substitutions that result in expression of PrP with a ?2-?2 loop (residues 165-175) that exactly matches that of elk PrP. Compared with transgenic mice expressing unaltered human PrP, mice expressing the human-elk chimeric PrP were highly susceptible to elk and deer CWD prions but were concurrently less susceptible to human Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease prions. A systematic in vitro survey of amino acid differences between humans and cervids identified two additional residues that impacted CWD conversion of human PrP. This work identifies amino acids that constitute a substantial structural barrier for CWD transmission to humans and helps illuminate the molecular requirements for cross-species prion transmission.
Project description:We generated mice expressing cervid prion protein to produce a transgenic system simulating chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer and elk. While normal mice were resistant to CWD, these transgenic mice uniformly developed signs of neurological dysfunction approximately 230 days following intracerebral inoculation with four CWD isolates. Inoculated transgenic mice homozygous for the transgene array developed disease after approximately 160 days. The brains of sick transgenic mice exhibited widespread spongiform degeneration and contained abnormal prion protein and abundant amyloid plaques, many of which were florid plaques. Transmission studies indicated that the same prion strain caused CWD in the analyzed mule deer and elk. These mice provide a new and reliable tool for detecting CWD prions.