Early preclinical detection of prions in the skin of prion-infected animals.
ABSTRACT: 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: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:Both sporadic variably protease-sensitive prionopathy (VPSPr) and familial Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease linked to the prion protein (PrP) V180I mutation (fCJDV180I) have been found to share a unique pathological prion protein (PrPSc) that lacks the protease-resistant PrPSc glycosylated at residue 181 because two of four PrP glycoforms are apparently not converted into the PrPSc from their cellular PrP (PrPC). To investigate the seeding activity of these unique PrPSc molecules, we conducted in vitro prion conversion experiments using serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification (sPMCA) and real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) assays with different PrPC substrates. We observed that the seeding of PrPSc from VPSPr or fCJDV180I in the sPMCA reaction containing normal human or humanized transgenic (Tg) mouse brain homogenates generated PrPSc molecules that unexpectedly exhibited a dominant diglycosylated PrP isoform along with PrP monoglycosylated at residue 181. The efficiency of PrPSc amplification was significantly higher in non-CJDMM than in non-CJDVV human brain homogenate, whereas it was higher in normal TgVV than in TgMM mouse brain homogenate. PrPC from the mixture of normal TgMM and Tg mouse brain expressing PrPV180I mutation (Tg180) but not TgV180I alone was converted into PrPSc by seeding with the VPSPr or fCJDV180I. The RT-QuIC seeding activity of PrPSc from VPSPr and fCJDV180I was significantly lower than that of sCJD. Our results suggest that the formation of glycoform-selective prions may be associated with an unidentified factor in the affected brain and the glycoform-deficiency of PrPSc does not affect the glycoforms of in vitro newly amplified PrPSc.
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:Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), the most common human prion disease, is transmissible through iatrogenic routes due to abundant infectious prions [misfolded forms of the prion protein (PrPSc)] in the central nervous system (CNS). Some epidemiological studies have associated sCJD risk with non-CNS surgeries. We explored the potential prion seeding activity and infectivity of skin from sCJD patients. Autopsy or biopsy skin samples from 38 patients [21 sCJD, 2 variant CJD (vCJD), and 15 non-CJD] were analyzed by Western blotting and real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) for PrPSc Skin samples from two patients were further examined for prion infectivity by bioassay using two lines of humanized transgenic mice. Western blotting revealed dermal PrPSc in one of five deceased sCJD patients and one of two vCJD patients. However, the more sensitive RT-QuIC assay detected prion seeding activity in skin from all 23 CJD decedents but not in skin from any non-CJD control individuals (with other neurological conditions or other diseases) during blinded testing. Although sCJD patient skin contained ~103- to 105-fold lower prion seeding activity than did sCJD patient brain tissue, all 12 mice from two transgenic mouse lines inoculated with sCJD skin homogenates from two sCJD patients succumbed to prion disease within 564 days after inoculation. Our study demonstrates that the skin of sCJD patients contains both prion seeding activity and infectivity, which raises concerns about the potential for iatrogenic sCJD transmission via skin.
Project description:The main risk of emergence of prion diseases in humans is associated with a cross-species transmission of prions of zoonotic origin. Prion transmission between species is regulated by a species barrier. Successful cross-species transmission is often accompanied by strain adaptation and result in stable changes of strain-specific disease phenotype. Amino acid sequences of host PrPC and donor PrPSc as well as strain-specific structure of PrPSc are believed to be the main factors that control species barrier and strain adaptation. Yet, despite our knowledge of the primary structures of mammalian prions, predicting the fate of prion strain adaptation is very difficult if possible at all. The current study asked the question whether changes in cofactor environment affect the fate of prions adaptation. To address this question, hamster strain 263K was propagated under normal or RNA-depleted conditions using serial Protein Misfolding Cyclic Amplification (PMCA) conducted first in mouse and then hamster substrates. We found that 263K propagated under normal conditions in mouse and then hamster substrates induced the disease phenotype similar to the original 263K. Surprisingly, 263K that propagated first in RNA-depleted mouse substrate and then normal hamster substrate produced a new disease phenotype upon serial transmission. Moreover, 263K that propagated in RNA-depleted mouse and then RNA-depleted hamster substrates failed to induce clinical diseases for three serial passages despite a gradual increase of PrPSc in animals. To summarize, depletion of RNA in prion replication reactions changed the rate of strain adaptation and the disease phenotype upon subsequent serial passaging of PMCA-derived materials in animals. The current studies suggest that replication environment plays an important role in determining the fate of prion strain adaptation.
Project description:The global outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has been attributed to the recycling of contaminated meat and bone meals (MBMs) as feed supplements. The use of MBMs has been prohibited in many countries; however, the development of a method for inactivating BSE prions could enable the efficient and safe use of these products as an organic resource. Subcritical water (SCW), which is water heated under pressure to maintain a liquid state at temperatures below the critical temperature (374°C), exhibits strong hydrolytic activity against organic compounds. In this study, we examined the residual in vitro seeding activity of protease-resistant prion protein (PrPSc) and the infectivity of BSE prions after SCW treatments. Spinal cord homogenates prepared from BSE-infected cows were treated with SCW at 230-280°C for 5-7.5 min and used to intracerebrally inoculate transgenic mice overexpressing bovine prion protein. Serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification (sPMCA) analysis detected no PrPSc in the SCW-treated homogenates, and the mice treated with these samples survived for more than 700 days without any signs of disease. However, sPMCA analyses detected PrPSc accumulation in the brains of all inoculated mice. Furthermore, secondary passage mice, which inoculated with brain homogenates derived from a western blotting (WB)-positive primary passage mouse, died after an average of 240 days, similar to mice inoculated with untreated BSE-infected spinal cord homogenates. The PrPSc accumulation and vacuolation typically observed in the brains of BSE-infected mice were confirmed in these secondary passage mice, suggesting that the BSE prions maintained their infectivity after SCW treatment. One late-onset case, as well as asymptomatic but sPMCA-positive cases, were also recognized in secondary passage mice inoculated with brain homogenates from WB-negative but sPMCA-positive primary passage mice. These results indicated that SCW-mediated hydrolysis was insufficient to eliminate the infectivity of BSE prions under the conditions tested.
Project description:Accidental transmission of prions during neurosurgery has been reported as a consequence of re-using contaminated surgical instruments. Several decontamination methods have been studied using the 263K-hamster prion; however, no studies have directly evaluated human prions. A newly developed in vitro amplification system, designated real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC), has allowed the activity of abnormal prion proteins to be assessed within a few days. RT-QuIC using human recombinant prion protein (PrP) showed high sensitivity for prions as the detection limit of our assay was estimated as 0.12 fg of active prions. We applied this method to detect human prion activity on stainless steel wire. When we put wires contaminated with human Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease brain tissue directly into the test tube, typical PrP-amyloid formation was observed within 48?hours, and we could detect the activity of prions at 50% seeding dose on the wire from 10(2.8) to 10(5.8) SD50. Using this method, we also confirmed that the seeding activities on the wire were removed following treatment with NaOH. As seeding activity closely correlated with the infectivity of prions using the bioassay, this wire-QuIC assay will be useful for the direct evaluation of decontamination methods for human prions.
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:Last decade witnessed an enormous progress in generating authentic infectious prions or PrPSc in vitro using recombinant prion protein (rPrP). Previous work established that rPrP that lacks posttranslational modification is able to support replication of highly infectious PrPSc with assistance of cofactors of polyanionic nature and/or lipids. Unexpectedly, previous studies also revealed that seeding of rPrP by brain-derived PrPSc gave rise to new prion strains with new disease phenotypes documenting loss of a strain identity upon replication in rPrP substrate. Up to now, it remains unclear whether prion strain identity can be preserved upon replication in rPrP. The current study reports that faithful replication of hamster strain SSLOW could be achieved in vitro using rPrP as a substrate. We found that a mixture of phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and synthetic nucleic acid polyA was sufficient for stable replication of hamster brain-derived SSLOW PrPSc in serial Protein Misfolding Cyclic Amplification (sPMCA) that uses hamster rPrP as a substrate. The disease phenotype generated in hamsters upon transmission of recombinant PrPSc produced in vitro was strikingly similar to the original SSLOW diseases phenotype with respect to the incubation time to disease, as well as clinical, neuropathological and biochemical features. Infrared microspectroscopy (IR-MSP) indicated that PrPSc produced in animals upon transmission of recombinant PrPSc is structurally similar if not identical to the original SSLOW PrPSc. The current study is the first to demonstrate that rPrP can support replication of brain-derived PrPSc while preserving its strain identity. In addition, the current work is the first to document that successful propagation of a hamster strain could be achieved in vitro using hamster rPrP.