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Establishing quantitative real-time quaking-induced conversion (qRT-QuIC) for highly sensitive detection and quantification of PrPSc in prion-infected tissues.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: PrPSc, the only known constituent of prions, the infectious agents causing prion diseases, can be detected by real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC). However, there is no efficient method to quantify the amount of PrPSc by RT-QuIC. RESULTS: Here we introduce quantitative RT-QuIC (qRT-QuIC) to quantify with high accuracy minute amounts of PrPSc in the brain and various peripheral tissues at levels far below detection by in vivo transmission. PrPSc is relatively resistant to treatment with proteinase K (PK). However, as there can also be a fraction of pathological PrP that is digested by PK, we use the term PrP27-30 to denote to the amount of PrPSc that can be detected by immunoblot after PK treatment. qRT-QuIC is based upon the quantitative correlation between the seeded amount of PrP27-30 and the lag time to the start of the conversion reaction detected by RT-QuIC. By seeding known amounts of PrP27-30 quantified by immunoblot into qRT-QuIC a standard calibration curve can be obtained. Based on this calibration curve, seeded undetermined amounts of PrP27-30 can be directly calculated. qRT-QuIC allowed to quantify PrP27-30 concentrations at extremely low levels as low as 10-15.5 g PrP27-30, which corresponds to 0.001 LD50 units obtained by in vivo i.c. transmission studies. We find that PrP27-30 concentration increases steadily in the brain after inoculation and can be detected at various time points during the incubation period in peripheral organs (spleen, heart, muscle, liver, kidney) in two experimental scrapie strains (RML, ME7) in the mouse. CONCLUSIONS: We suggest that an automatic quantitative system to measure disease progression as well as prion contamination of organs, blood and food product is feasible. Moreover, the concept of qRT-QuIC should be applicable to measure other disease-associated proteins rich in ?-pleated structures (amyloid) that bind ThT and that show seeded aggregation.
Project description:Mammalian prion structures and replication mechanisms are poorly understood. Most synthetic recombinant prion protein (rPrP) amyloids prepared without cofactors are non-infectious or much less infectious than bona fide tissue-derived PrPSc. This effect has been associated with differences in folding of the aggregates, manifested in part by reduced solvent exclusion and protease-resistance in rPrP amyloids, especially within residues ~90-160. Substitution of 4 lysines within residues 101-110 of rPrP (central lysine cluster) with alanines (K4A) or asparagines (K4N) allows formation of aggregates with extended proteinase K (PK) resistant cores reminiscent of PrPSc, particularly when seeded with PrPSc. Here we have compared the infectivity of rPrP aggregates made with K4N, K4A or wild-type (WT) rPrP, after seeding with scrapie brain homogenate (ScBH) or normal brain homogenate (NBH). None of these preparations caused clinical disease on first passage into rodents. However, the ScBH-seeded fibrils (only) led to a subclinical pathogenesis as indicated by increases in prion seeding activity, neuropathology, and abnormal PrP in the brain. Seeding activities usually accumulated to much higher levels in animals inoculated with ScBH-seeded fibrils made with the K4N, rather than WT, rPrP molecules. Brain homogenates from subclinical animals induced clinical disease on second passage into "hamsterized" Tg7 mice, with shorter incubation times in animals inoculated with ScBH-seeded K4N rPrP fibrils. On second passage from animals inoculated with ScBH-seeded WT fibrils, we detected an additional PK resistant PrP fragment that was similar to that of bona fide PrPSc. Together these data indicate that both the central lysine cluster and scrapie seeding of rPrP aggregates influence the induction of PrP misfolding, neuropathology and clinical manifestations upon passage in vivo. We confirm that some rPrP aggregates can initiate further aggregation without typical pathogenesis in vivo. We also provide evidence that there is little, if any, biohazard associated with routine RT-QuIC assays.
Project description:Prion propagation is mediated by the structural alteration of normal prion protein (PrPC) to generate pathogenic prion protein (PrPSc). To date, compounds for the inhibition of prion propagation have mainly been screened using PrPSc-infected cells. Real time-quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) is one alternative screening method. In this study, we assessed the propagation inhibition effects of known anti-prion compounds using RT-QuIC and compared the results with those from a PrPSc-infected cell assay. Compounds were applied to RT-QuIC reactions at 0 h or 22 h after prion propagation to determine whether they inhibited propagation or reduced amplified aggregates. RT-QuIC reactions in presence of acridine, dextran sulfate sodium (DSS), and tannic acid inhibited seeded aggregation with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease at 0 h. After treatment at 22 h, amplified fluorescence was decreased in wells treated with either acridine or tannic acid. Compound activities were verified by western blot of RT-QuIC products and in a dye-independent conversion assay, the Multimer Detection System. Protease K-resistant PrPSc fragments (PrPres) were reduced by DSS and tannic acid in the PrPSc-infected cell assay. Importantly, these inhibitory effects were similar despite different treatment times (0 h versus 3 days). Consequentially, RT-QuIC enabled the more specific classification of compounds according to action (i.e., inhibition of prion propagation versus reduction of amplified aggregates). RT-QuIC addresses the limitations of cell-based screening methods and can be used to further aid our understanding of the mechanisms of action of anti-prion compounds.
Project description:Prions are amyloid-forming proteins that cause transmissible spongiform encephalopathies through a process involving conversion from the normal cellular prion protein to the pathogenic misfolded conformation (PrPSc). This conversion has been used for in vitro assays including serial protein misfolding amplification and real-time quaking induced conversion (RT-QuIC). RT-QuIC can be used for the detection of prions in a variety of biological tissues from humans and animals. Extensive work has been done to demonstrate that RT-QuIC is a rapid, specific, and highly sensitive prion detection assay. RT-QuIC uses recombinant prion protein to detect minute amounts of PrPSc. RT-QuIC has been successfully used to detect PrPSc from different prion diseases with a variety of substrates including hamster, human, sheep, bank vole, bovine and chimeric forms of prion protein. However, recombinant bovine prion protein has not been used to detect transmissible mink encephalopathy (TME) or to differentiate types of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in samples from cattle. We evaluated whether PrPSc from TME and BSE infected cattle can be detected with RT-QuIC using recombinant bovine prion proteins, and optimized the reaction conditions to specifically detect cattle TME and to discriminate between classical and atypical BSE by conversion efficiency. We also found that substrate composed of the disease associated E211K mutant protein can be effective for the detection of TME in cattle and that wild type prion protein appears to be a practical substrate to discriminate between the different types of BSEs.
Project description:Scrapie is a naturally occurring transmissible spongiform encephalopathy of sheep and goats. This fatal neurodegenerative disease is caused by misfolding of the cellular prion protein to pathogenic β-rich conformers (PrPSc) that accumulate in higher order structures of the brain and other tissues. This conversion has been used for in vitro assays including serial protein misfolding amplification and real-time quaking induced conversion (RT-QuIC). RT-QuIC can be used for the detection of prions and for strain discrimination in a variety of biological tissues from humans and animals. In this study, we evaluated how PrPSc isolated from sheep of different genotypes after inoculation with the scrapie agent influence the fibril formation in vitro using RT-QuIC. We found that reaction mixtures seeded with PrPSc from genotype VRQ/VRQ sheep brains have better conversion efficiency with 132M elk substrate compared to reactions seeded with PrPSc from the brains of sheep with the ARQ/ARQ genotype no matter which strain of scrapie was used to seed the reactions. We also inoculated transgenic mice expressing 132M elk PRNP (Tg12) with the scrapie agent from different genotypes of sheep to compare with our RT-QuIC results. The bioassays support the data showing a significantly shorter incubation period for inoculum from VRQ/VRQ sheep when compared to inoculum from ARQ/ARQ sheep. Thus, we conclude that the genotype of both source and recipient can strongly influence transmission.
Project description:Chronic wasting disease is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy of cervids. This fatal neurodegenerative disease is caused by misfolding of the cellular prion protein (PrPC) to pathogenic conformers (PrPSc), and the pathogenic forms accumulate in the brain and other tissues. Real-time Quaking Induced Conversion (RT-QuIC) can be used for the detection of prions and for prion strain discrimination in a variety of biological tissues from humans and animals. In this study, we evaluated how either PrPSc from cervids of different genotypes or PrPSc from different sources of CWD influence the fibril formation of recombinant bank vole (BV) or human prion proteins using RT-QuIC. We found that reaction mixtures seeded with PrPSc from different genotypes of white-tailed deer or reindeer brains have similar conversion efficiency with both substrates. Also, we observed similar results when assays were seeded with different sources of CWD. Thus, we conclude that the genotypes of all sources of CWD used in this study do not influence the level of conversion of PrPC to PrPSc.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Scrapie is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) that naturally occurs in sheep and goats. This fatal neurodegenerative disease results from misfolding of the normal cellular prion protein (PrPC) to a pathogenic prion protein form (PrPSc). This pathogenic form, PrPSc, accumulates in the brain and lymphoid tissues. The presence of PrPSc can be detected by an in vitro conversion assay known as real-time quaking induced conversion (RT-QuIC). RT-QuIC has been used to detect PrPSc in a variety of biological tissues from brains to fluids. While this technique is both rapid and sensitive, enhancing the detection of prions would be valuable in the diagnostic laboratories. RESULTS:In this study, we assessed whether PrPSc detection sensitivity of RT-QuIC can be increased by enriching PrPSc in scrapie tissue homogenates using commercially available aggregated protein binding ligands coated magnetic beads (PAD-Beads). Coupling of RT-QuIC to PAD-Beads based cleanup allowed detection of PrPSc rapidly and without dilution of scrapie sheep brain homogenates prior to RT-QuIC. The PAD-Beads sample pretreatment step prior to RT-QuIC is a useful enhancement in the diagnosis of TSEs.
Project description:Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) belongs to a group of fatal prion diseases that result from the misfolding of the cellular prion protein (PrPC) into a pathogenic form (PrPSc) that accumulates in the brain. In vitro assays such as serial protein misfolding amplification and real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) allow assessment of the conversion of PrPC to PrPSc. RT-QuIC can be used for the detection of prions in a variety of biological tissues from humans and animals. However, there is no such comparison of RT-QuIC data between BSE positive and presymptomatic cattle. Further, the current study assesses prion distribution in multiple brain regions of clinically ill or subclinical animals. Here, we compare RT-QuIC reactions seeded with brain samples collected from experimentally inoculated cattle that were clinically ill or subclinically affected with BSE. The results demonstrate RT-QuIC seeding in various brain regions of an animal with subclinical BSE despite being determined negative by immunohistochemistry. Bioassay of the subclinical animal and RT-QuIC of brainstem from inoculated knockout (PRNP-/-) cattle were used to confirm infectivity in the subclinical animal and determine that RT-QuIC reactions were not the result of residual inoculum, respectively. These results confirm that RT-QuIC is a highly sensitive prion detection assay that can detect prions in a steer prior to the onset of clinical signs of BSE.
Project description:Fatal Familial Insomnia (FFI) is one of the most popular genetic prion disease (gPrD) in China. Unlike the other types of human prion diseases, FFI patients show distinctive neuropathological characteristics, such as less deposition of PrPSc, low tissue infectivity and severe neuron losses in some special brain regions. Compared with other gPrDs, the positive reactions of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) RT-QuIC of FFI patients were markedly low. However, the reactivities of RT-QuIC of the brain tissues, particularly different brain regions, of FFI cases are rarely described. In this study, three different brain regions from three FFI patients were subjected into two kinds of RT-QuIC assays using recombinant hamster PrP23-231 (rHaPrP23-231) and PrP90-231 (rHaPrP90-231) as the substrates, respectively. The results showed that the general RT-QuIC reactivities of the brains from FFI cases were significantly lower than that of sCJD. Analyses of the positive rates and the reactivities (lag time and rfu peak) of RT-QuIC identified that the homogenates of frontal lobe induced the most active reaction, followed by thalamus and callosum. The RT-QuIC reactivity in the tested brain sample was closely associated with the intensity of PK-resistant PrPSc. Moreover, we also verified that the sensitivity of the RT-QuIC of rHaPrP90-231 was much higher than that of rHaPrP23-231. Those data confirm that brain tissues of FFI patients are able to convert positive reactions in RT-QuIC and show regional-associated positive converting capacities.
Project description:Real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) is a rapid, specific and highly sensitive prion seeding activity detection assay that uses recombinant prion protein (rPrPSen) to detect subinfectious levels of the abnormal isoforms of the prion protein (PrPSc). Although RT-QuIC has been successfully used to detect PrPSc in various tissues from humans and animals, including sheep, tissues from goats infected with classical scrapie have not yet been tested. Therefore, the aims of the present study were to (1) evaluate whether prion seeding activity could be detected in the brain tissues of goats with scrapie using RT-QuIC, (2) optimize reaction conditions to improve scrapie detection in goats, and (3) compare the performance of RT-QuIC for the detection of PrPSc with the more commonly used ELISA and Western blot assays. We further optimized RT-QuIC conditions for sensitive and specific detection of goat scrapie seeding activity in brain tissue from clinical animals. When used with 200? mM sodium chloride, both full-length sheep rPrPSen substrates (PrP genotypes A136R154Q171 and V136R154Q171) provided good discrimination between scrapie-infected and normal goat brain samples at 10(-?)3 dilution within 15 ?h. Our findings indicate that RT-QuIC was at least 10,000-fold more sensitive than ELISA and Western blot assays for the detection of scrapie seeding activity in goat brain samples. In addition to PRNP WT samples, positive RT-QuIC reactions were also observed with three PRNP polymorphic goat brain samples (G/S127, I/M142 and H/R143) tested. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that RT-QuIC sensitively detects prion seeding activity in classical scrapie-infected goat brain samples.
Project description:In vitro amplification assays, such as real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) are used to detect aggregation activity of misfolded prion protein (PrP) in brain, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and urine samples from patients with a prion disease. We believe that the method also has a much broader application spectrum. In the present study, we applied RT-QuIC as a pre-screening test for substances that potentially inhibit the aggregation process of the cellular PrP (PrP(C)) to proteinase (PK)-resistant PrP(res). We chose doxycycline as the test substance as it has been tested successfully in animal models and proposed in clinical studies as a therapeutic for prion diseases. The RT-QuIC-reaction was seeded with brain tissue or CSF from sCJD patients and doxycycline was then added in different concentrations as well as at different time points. In both experiments, we observed a dose- and time-dependent inhibition of the RT-QuIC seeding response and a decrease of PK resistant PrP(res) when doxycycline was added. In contrast, ampicillin or sucrose had no effect on the RT-QuIC seeding response. Our study is the first to apply RT-QuIC as a pre-screening assay for compounds inhibiting the PrP aggregation in vitro and confirms that doxycycline is an efficient inhibitor of the PrP aggregation process in RT-QuIC analysis.