Sensitive and specific detection of classical scrapie prions in the brains of goats by real-time quaking-induced conversion.
ABSTRACT: 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: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: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:A definitive pre-mortem diagnosis of prion disease depends on brain biopsy for prion detection currently and no validated alternative preclinical diagnostic tests have been reported to date. To determine the feasibility of using skin for preclinical diagnosis, here we report ultrasensitive serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification (sPMCA) and real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) assays of skin samples from hamsters and humanized transgenic mice (Tg40h) at different time points after intracerebral inoculation with 263K and sCJDMM1 prions, respectively. sPMCA detects skin PrPSc as early as 2 weeks post inoculation (wpi) in hamsters and 4 wpi in Tg40h mice; RT-QuIC assay reveals earliest skin prion-seeding activity at 3 wpi in hamsters and 20 wpi in Tg40h mice. Unlike 263K-inoculated animals, mock-inoculated animals show detectable skin/brain PrPSc only after long cohabitation periods with scrapie-infected animals. Our study provides the proof-of-concept evidence that skin prions could be a biomarker for preclinical diagnosis of prion disease.
Project description:Since 2005, two cases of natural bovine spongiform encephalopathies (BSE) have been reported in goats. Furthermore, experimental transmissions of classical (C-BSE) and atypical (L-BSE) forms of BSE in goats were also reported. To minimize further spreading of prion diseases in small ruminants the development of a highly sensitive and specific test for ante-mortem detection of infected animals would be of great value. Recent studies reported high diagnostic value of a second generation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) Real-Time Quaking-Induced Conversion (RT-QuIC) assay across a wide spectrum of human prions. Here, we applied this improved QuIC (IQ-CSF) for highly efficient detection of TSEs prion protein in goat cerebrospinal fluid. IQ-CSF sensitivity and specificity were evaluated on CSF samples collected at disease endpoint from goats naturally and experimentally infected with scrapie or bovine isolates of C-BSE and L-BSE, respectively. Next, CSF samples collected from L-BSE infected goats during pre-symptomatic stage were also analysed. PrPL-BSE associated seeding activity was detected at early time points after experimental inoculation, with an average time of 439 days before clinical symptoms appeared. Taken together these data are indicative of the great potential of this in vitro prion amplification assay as ante-mortem TSE test for live and asymptomatic small ruminants.
Project description: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: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:A major problem for the effective diagnosis and management of prion diseases is the lack of rapid high-throughput assays to measure low levels of prions. Such measurements have typically required prolonged bioassays in animals. Highly sensitive, but generally non-quantitative, prion detection methods have been developed based on prions' ability to seed the conversion of normally soluble protease-sensitive forms of prion protein to protease-resistant and/or amyloid fibrillar forms. Here we describe an approach for estimating the relative amount of prions using a new prion seeding assay called real-time quaking induced conversion assay (RT-QuIC). The underlying reaction blends aspects of the previously described quaking-induced conversion (QuIC) and amyloid seeding assay (ASA) methods and involves prion-seeded conversion of the alpha helix-rich form of bacterially expressed recombinant PrP(C) to a beta sheet-rich amyloid fibrillar form. The RT-QuIC is as sensitive as the animal bioassay, but can be accomplished in 2 days or less. Analogous to end-point dilution animal bioassays, this approach involves testing of serial dilutions of samples and statistically estimating the seeding dose (SD) giving positive responses in 50% of replicate reactions (SD(50)). Brain tissue from 263K scrapie-affected hamsters gave SD(50) values of 10(11)-10(12)/g, making the RT-QuIC similar in sensitivity to end-point dilution bioassays. Analysis of bioassay-positive nasal lavages from hamsters affected with transmissible mink encephalopathy gave SD(50) values of 10(3.5)-10(5.7)/ml, showing that nasal cavities release substantial prion infectivity that can be rapidly detected. Cerebral spinal fluid from 263K scrapie-affected hamsters contained prion SD(50) values of 10(2.0)-10(2.9)/ml. RT-QuIC assay also discriminated deer chronic wasting disease and sheep scrapie brain samples from normal control samples. In principle, end-point dilution quantitation can be applied to many types of prion and amyloid seeding assays. End point dilution RT-QuIC provides a sensitive, rapid, quantitative, and high throughput assay of prion seeding activity.
Project description:The disease-associated prion protein (PrPSc) has the ability to seed the conformational conversion of normal prion proteins into the amyloid fibril form. This prion seeding activity can be measured using an in vitro amplification assay termed real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC). There is a strong correlation between RT-QuIC positivity and prion infection; however, the relationship between seeding activity and infectivity remains elusive. In this study, we used endpoint dilution RT-QuIC on the brain homogenates from wild-type mice with mouse-adopted bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mBSE) at defined intervals during the incubation period and evaluated the temporal relationship among prion seeding dose, levels of proteinase-resistant PrPSc (PrPres), and infectious titer. We found that the infectious titer reached a plateau by 100 days postinfection, whereas seeding dose and PrPres levels were continuously elevated. Our calculation showed that the doubling time (dt) for seeding dose from 40 to 100 days postinoculation was closer to the dt for PrPres levels than to the dt for prion titer. Although an uncoupling of seeding doses and PrPres levels was observed at end-stage disease in this model, our findings suggest that there is substantial but not complete overlap between PrPSc with seeding activity and PrPres rather than infectious PrPSc.
Project description:Different transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE)-associated forms of prion protein (e.g. PrP(Sc)) can vary markedly in ultrastructure and biochemical characteristics, but each is propagated in the host. PrP(Sc) propagation involves conversion from its normal isoform, PrP(C), by a seeded or templated polymerization mechanism. Such a mechanism is also the basis of the RT-QuIC and eQuIC prion assays which use recombinant PrP (rPrP(Sen)) as a substrate. These ultrasensitive detection assays have been developed for TSE prions of several host species and sample tissues, but not for murine models which are central to TSE pathogenesis research. Here we have adapted RT-QuIC and eQuIC to various murine prions and evaluated how seeding activity depends on glycophosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchoring and the abundance of amyloid plaques and protease-resistant PrP(Sc) (PrP(Res)). Scrapie brain dilutions up to 10(-8) and 10(-13) were detected by RT-QuIC and eQuIC, respectively. Comparisons of scrapie-affected wild-type mice and transgenic mice expressing GPI anchorless PrP showed that, although similar concentrations of seeding activity accumulated in brain, the heavily amyloid-laden anchorless mouse tissue seeded more rapid reactions. Next we compared seeding activities in the brains of mice with similar infectivity titers, but widely divergent PrP(Res) levels. For this purpose we compared the 263K and 139A scrapie strains in transgenic mice expressing P101L PrP(C). Although the brains of 263K-affected mice had little immunoblot-detectable PrP(Res), RT-QuIC indicated that seeding activity was comparable to that associated with a high-PrP(Res) strain, 139A. Thus, in this comparison, RT-QuIC seeding activity correlated more closely with infectivity than with PrP(Res) levels. We also found that eQuIC, which incorporates a PrP(Sc) immunoprecipitation step, detected seeding activity in plasma from wild-type and anchorless PrP transgenic mice inoculated with 22L, 79A and/or RML scrapie strains. Overall, we conclude that these new mouse-adapted prion seeding assays detect diverse types of PrP(Sc).
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.