Rapid typing of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy strains with differential ELISA.
ABSTRACT: The bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) agent has been transmitted to humans, leading to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Sheep and goats can be experimentally infected by BSE and have been potentially exposed to natural BSE; however, whether BSE can be transmitted to small ruminants is not known. Based on the particular biochemical properties of the abnormal prion protein (PrPsc) associated with BSE, and particularly the increased degradation induced by proteinase K in the N terminal part of PrPsc, we have developed a rapid ELISA designed to distinguish BSE from other scrapie strains. This assay clearly discriminates experimental ovine BSE from other scrapie strains and was used to screen 260 transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE)-infected small ruminant samples identified by the French active surveillance network (2002/2003). In this context, this test has helped to identify the first case of natural BSE in a goat and can be used to classify TSE isolates based on the proteinase K sensitivity of PrPsc.
Project description:Scrapie in goats has been known since 1942, the archetype of prion diseases in which only prion protein (PrP) in misfolded state (PrPSc) acts as infectious agent with fatal consequence. Emergence of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) with its zoonotic behaviour and detection in goats enhanced fears that its source was located in small ruminants. However, in goats knowledge on prion strain typing is limited. A European-wide study is presented concerning the biochemical phenotypes of the protease resistant fraction of PrPSc (PrPres) in over thirty brain isolates from transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) affected goats collected in seven countries. Three different scrapie forms were found: classical scrapie (CS), Nor98/atypical scrapie and one case of CH1641 scrapie. In addition, CS was found in two variants-CS-1 and CS-2 (mainly Italy)-which differed in proteolytic resistance of the PrPres N-terminus. Suitable PrPres markers for discriminating CH1641 from BSE (C-type) appeared to be glycoprofile pattern, presence of two triplets instead of one, and structural (in)stability of its core amino acid region. None of the samples exhibited BSE like features. BSE and these four scrapie types, of which CS-2 is new, can be recognized in goats with combinations of a set of nine biochemical parameters.
Project description:Sheep CH1641-like transmissible spongiform encephalopathy isolates have shown molecular similarities to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) isolates. We report that the prion protein PrPSc from sheep BSE is extremely resistant to denaturation. This feature, combined with the N-terminal PrPSc cleavage, allowed differentiation of classical scrapie, including CH1641-like, from natural goat BSE and experimental sheep BSE.
Project description:The risk of the transmission of ruminant transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) to humans was thought to be low due to the lack of association between sheep scrapie and the incidence of human TSE. However, a single TSE agent strain has been shown to cause both bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and human vCJD, indicating that some ruminant TSEs are transmissible to humans. While the transmission of cattle BSE to humans in transgenic mouse models has been inefficient, indicating the presence of a significant transmission barrier between cattle and humans, BSE has been transmitted to a number of other species. Here, we aimed to further investigate the human transmission barrier following the passage of BSE in a sheep. Following inoculation with cattle BSE, gene-targeted transgenic mice expressing human PrP showed no clinical or pathological signs of TSE disease. However, following inoculation with an isolate of BSE that had been passaged through a sheep, TSE-associated vacuolation and proteinase K-resistant PrP deposition were observed in mice homozygous for the codon 129-methionine PRNP gene. This observation may be due to higher titers of the BSE agent in sheep or an increased susceptibility of humans to BSE prions following passage through a sheep. However, these data confirm that, contrary to previous predictions, it is possible that a sheep prion is transmissible to humans and that BSE from other species is a public health risk.
Project description:Two cases of unusual transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) were diagnosed on the same farm in ARQ/ARQ PrP sheep showing attributes of both bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and scrapie. These cases, UK-1 and UK-2, were investigated further by transmissions to wild-type and ovine transgenic mice. Lesion profiles (LP) on primary isolation and subpassage, incubation period (IP) of disease, PrP(Sc) immunohistochemical (IHC) deposition pattern and Western blot profiles were used to characterize the prions causing disease in these sheep. Results showed that both cases were compatible with scrapie. The presence of BSE was contraindicated by the following: LP on primary isolation in RIII and/or MR (modified RIII) mice; IP and LP after serial passage in wild-type mice; PrP(Sc) deposition pattern in wild-type mice; and IP and Western blot data in transgenic mice. Furthermore, immunohistochemistry (IHC) revealed that each case generated two distinct PrP(Sc) deposition patterns in both wild-type and transgenic mice, suggesting that two scrapie strains coexisted in the ovine hosts. Critically, these data confirmed the original differential IHC categorization that these UK-1 and UK-2 cases were not compatible with BSE.
Project description:Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is a zoonotic transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) thought to be caused by the same prion strain as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). Unlike scrapie and chronic wasting disease there is no cell culture model allowing the replication of proteinase K resistant BSE (PrPBSE) and the further in vitro study of this disease. We have generated a cell line based on the Madin-Darby Bovine Kidney (MDBK) cell line over-expressing the bovine prion protein. After exposure to naturally BSE-infected bovine brain homogenate this cell line has shown to replicate and accumulate PrPBSE and maintain infection up to passage 83 after initial challenge. Collectively, we demonstrate, for the first time, that the BSE agent can infect cell lines over-expressing the bovine prion protein similar to other prion diseases. These BSE infected cells will provide a useful tool to facilitate the study of potential therapeutic agents and the diagnosis of BSE.
Project description:Scrapie is transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE), which causes neurological signs in sheep, but confirmatory diagnosis is usually made postmortem on examination of the brain for TSE-associated markers like vacuolar changes and disease-associated prion protein (PrP(Sc)). The objective of this study was to evaluate whether testing of brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEPs) at two different sound levels could aid in the clinical diagnosis of TSEs in sheep naturally or experimentally infected with different TSE strains [classical and atypical scrapie and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)] and whether any BAEP abnormalities were associated with TSE-associated markers in the auditory pathways. BAEPs were recorded from 141 clinically healthy sheep of different breeds and ages that tested negative for TSEs on postmortem tests to establish a reference range and to allow comparison with 30 sheep clinically affected or exposed to classical scrapie (CS) without disease confirmation (test group 1) and 182 clinically affected sheep with disease confirmation (test group 2). Abnormal BAEPs were found in 7 sheep (23%) of group 1 and 42 sheep (23%) of group 2. The proportion of sheep with abnormalities did not appear to be influenced by TSE strain or PrP(Sc) gene polymorphisms. When the magnitude of TSE-associated markers in the auditory pathways was compared between a subset of 12 sheep with and 12 sheep without BAEP abnormalities in group 2, no significant differences in the total PrP(Sc) or vacuolation scores in the auditory pathways could be found. However, the data suggested that there was a difference in the PrP(Sc) scores depending on the TSE strain because PrP(Sc) scores were significantly higher in sheep with BAEP abnormalities infected with classical and L-type BSE, but not with CS. The results indicated that BAEPs may be abnormal in sheep infected with TSEs but the test is not specific for TSEs and that neither vacuolation nor PrP(Sc) accumulation appears to be responsible for the clinical abnormalities.
Project description:The prion hypothesis proposes a causal relationship between the misfolded prion protein (PrPSc) molecular entity and the disease transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). Variations in the conformation of PrPSc are associated with different forms of TSE and different risks to animal and human health. Since the discovery of atypical forms of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in 2003, scientists have progressed the molecular characterisation of the associated PrPSc in order to better understand these risks, both in cattle as the natural host and following experimental transmission to other species. Here we report the development of a mass spectrometry based assay for molecular characterisation of bovine proteinase K (PK) treated PrPSc (PrPres) by quantitative identification of its N-terminal amino acid profiles (N-TAAPs) and tryptic peptides. We have applied the assay to classical, H-type and L-type BSE prions purified from cattle, transgenic (Tg) mice expressing the bovine (Tg110 and Tg1896) or ovine (TgEM16) prion protein gene, and sheep brain. We determined that, for classical BSE in cattle, the G96 N-terminal cleavage site dominated, while the range of cleavage sites was wider following transmission to Tg mice and sheep. For L-BSE in cattle and Tg bovinised mice, a C-terminal shift was identified in the N-TAAP distribution compared to classical BSE, consistent with observations by Western blot (WB). For L-BSE transmitted to sheep, both N-TAAP and tryptic peptide profiles were found to be changed compared to cattle, but less so following transmission to Tg ovinised mice. Relative abundances of aglycosyl peptides were found to be significantly different between the atypical BSE forms in cattle as well as in other hosts. The enhanced resolution provided by molecular analysis of PrPres using mass spectrometry has improved insight into the molecular changes following transmission of atypical BSE to other species.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) of cattle. Classical BSE is associated with ingestion of BSE-contaminated feedstuffs. H- and L-type BSE, collectively known as atypical BSE, differ from classical BSE by displaying a different disease phenotype and they have not been linked to the consumption of contaminated feed. Interestingly, the 2006 US H-type atypical BSE animal had a polymorphism at codon 211 of the bovine prion gene resulting in a glutamic acid to lysine substitution (E211K). This substitution is analogous a human polymorphism associated with the most prevalent form of heritable TSE in humans, and it is considered to have caused BSE in the 2006 US atypical BSE animal. In order to determine if this amino acid change is a heritable trait in cattle, we sequenced the prion alleles of the only known offspring of this animal, a 2-year-old heifer. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Sequence analysis revealed that both the 2006 US atypical BSE animal and its 2-year-old heifer were heterozygous at bovine prion gene nucleotides 631 through 633 for GAA (glutamic acid) and AAA (lysine). Both animals carry the E211K polymorphism, indicating that the allele is heritable and may persist within the cattle population. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first evidence that the E211K polymorphism is a germline polymorphism, not a somatic mutation, suggesting BSE may be transmitted genetically in cattle. In the event that E211K proves to result in a genetic form of BSE, this would be the first indication that all 3 etiologic forms of TSEs (spontaneous, hereditary, and infectious) are present in a non-human species. Atypical BSE arising as both genetic and spontaneous disease, in the context of reports that at least some forms of atypical BSE can convert to classical BSE in mice, suggests a cattle origin for classical BSE.
Project description:BACKGROUND: After bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) emerged in European cattle livestock in 1986 a fundamental question was whether the agent established also in the small ruminants' population. In Switzerland transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) in small ruminants have been monitored since 1990. While in the most recent TSE cases a BSE infection could be excluded, for historical cases techniques to discriminate scrapie from BSE had not been available at the time of diagnosis and thus their status remained unclear. We herein applied state-of-the-art techniques to retrospectively classify these animals and to re-analyze the affected flocks for secondary cases. These results were the basis for models, simulating the course of TSEs over a period of 70 years. The aim was to come to a statistically based overall assessment of the TSE situation in the domestic small ruminant population in Switzerland. RESULTS: In sum 16 TSE cases were identified in small ruminants in Switzerland since 1981, of which eight were atypical and six were classical scrapie. In two animals retrospective analysis did not allow any further classification due to the lack of appropriate tissue samples. We found no evidence for an infection with the BSE agent in the cases under investigation. In none of the affected flocks, secondary cases were identified. A Bayesian prevalence calculation resulted in most likely estimates of one case of BSE, five cases of classical scrapie and 21 cases of atypical scrapie per 100'000 small ruminants. According to our models none of the TSEs is considered to cause a broader epidemic in Switzerland. In a closed population, they are rather expected to fade out in the next decades or, in case of a sporadic origin, may remain at a very low level. CONCLUSIONS: In summary, these data indicate that despite a significant epidemic of BSE in cattle, there is no evidence that BSE established in the small ruminant population in Switzerland. Classical and atypical scrapie both occur at a very low level and are not expected to escalate into an epidemic. In this situation the extent of TSE surveillance in small ruminants requires reevaluation based on cost-benefit analysis.
Project description:It is assumed that sheep and goats consumed the same bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)-contaminated meat and bone meal that was fed to cattle and precipitated the BSE epidemic in the United Kingdom that peaked more than 20 years ago. Despite intensive surveillance for cases of BSE within the small ruminant populations of the United Kingdom and European Union, no instances of BSE have been detected in sheep, and in only two instances has BSE been discovered in goats. If BSE is present within the small ruminant populations, it may be at subclinical levels, may manifest as scrapie, or may be masked by coinfection with scrapie. To determine whether BSE is potentially circulating at low levels within the European small ruminant populations, highly sensitive assays that can specifically detect BSE, even within the presence of scrapie prion protein, are required. Here, we present a novel assay based on the specific amplification of BSE PrP(Sc) using the serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification assay (sPMCA), which specifically amplified small amounts of ovine and caprine BSE agent which had been mixed into a range of scrapie-positive brain homogenates. We detected the BSE prion protein within a large excess of classical, atypical, and CH1641 scrapie isolates. In a blind trial, this sPMCA-based assay specifically amplified BSE PrP(Sc) within brain mixes with 100% specificity and 97% sensitivity when BSE agent was diluted into scrapie-infected brain homogenates at 1% (vol/vol).