Role of donor genotype in RT-QuIC seeding activity of chronic wasting disease prions using human and bank vole substrates.
ABSTRACT: 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:Prion diseases are infectious neurodegenerative disorders of humans and animals caused by misfolded forms of the cellular prion protein PrPC. Prions cause disease by converting PrPC into aggregation-prone PrPSc. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is the most contagious prion disease with substantial lateral transmission, affecting free-ranging and farmed cervids. Although the PrP primary structure is highly conserved among cervids, the disease phenotype can be modulated by species-specific polymorphisms in the prion protein gene. How the resulting amino-acid substitutions impact PrPC and PrPSc structure and propagation is poorly understood. We investigated the effects of the cervid 116A>G substitution, located in the most conserved PrP domain, on PrPC structure and conversion and on 116AG-prion conformation and infectivity. Molecular dynamics simulations revealed structural de-stabilization of 116G-PrP, which enhanced its in vitro conversion efficiency when used as recombinant PrP substrate in real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC). We demonstrate that 116AG-prions are conformationally less stable, show lower activity as a seed in RT-QuIC and exhibit reduced infectivity in vitro and in vivo. Infectivity of 116AG-prions was significantly enhanced upon secondary passage in mice, yet conformational features were retained. These findings indicate that structurally de-stabilized PrPC is readily convertible by cervid prions of different genetic background and results in a prion conformation adaptable to cervid wild-type PrP. Conformation is an important criterion when assessing transmission barrier, and conformational variants can target a different host range. Therefore, a thorough analysis of CWD isolates and re-assessment of species-barriers is important in order to fully exclude a zoonotic potential of CWD.
Project description:Prions are infectious proteins composed of the abnormal disease-causing isoform PrPSc, which induces conformational conversion of the host-encoded normal cellular prion protein PrPC to additional PrPSc. The mechanism underlying prion strain mutation in the absence of nucleic acids remains unresolved. Additionally, the frequency of strains causing chronic wasting disease (CWD), a burgeoning prion epidemic of cervids, is unknown. Using susceptible transgenic mice, we identified two prevalent CWD strains with divergent biological properties but composed of PrPSc with indistinguishable biochemical characteristics. Although CWD transmissions indicated stable, independent strain propagation by elk PrPC, strain coexistence in the brains of deer and transgenic mice demonstrated unstable strain propagation by deer PrPC. The primary structures of deer and elk prion proteins differ at residue 226, which, in concert with PrPSc conformational compatibility, determines prion strain mutation in these cervids.
Project description:Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal prion disease of wild and captive cervids in North America. Prions are infectious agents composed of a misfolded version of a host-encoded protein, termed PrPSc. Infected cervids excrete and secrete prions, contributing to lateral transmission. Geographical distribution is expanding and case numbers in wild cervids are increasing. Recently, the first European cases of CWD have been reported in a wild reindeer and two moose from Norway. Therefore, methods to detect the infection early in the incubation time using easily available samples are desirable to facilitate effective disease management. We have adapted the real-time quaking induced conversion (RT-QuIC) assay, a sensitive in vitro prion amplification method, for pre-clinical detection of prion seeding activity in elk feces. Testing fecal samples from orally inoculated elk taken at various time points post infection revealed early shedding and detectable prion seeding activity throughout the disease course. Early shedding was also found in two elk encoding a PrP genotype associated with reduced susceptibility for CWD. In summary, we suggest that detection of CWD prions in feces by RT-QuIC may become a useful tool to support CWD surveillance in wild and captive cervids. The finding of early shedding independent of the elk's prion protein genotype raises the question whether prolonged survival is beneficial, considering accumulation of environmental prions and its contribution to CWD transmission upon extended duration of shedding.
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: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:The agent responsible for prion diseases is a misfolded form of a normal protein (PrPC). The prion hypothesis stipulates that PrPC must be present for the disease to manifest. Cervid populations across the world are infected with chronic wasting disease, a horizontally-transmissible prion disease that is likely spread via oral exposure to infectious prions (PrPCWD). Though PrPCWD has been identified in many tissues, there has been little effort to characterize the overall PrPC expression in cervids and its relationship to PrPCWD accumulation. We used immunohistochemistry (IHC), western blot and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to describe PrPC expression in naïve white-tailed deer. We used real-time, quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) to detect prion seeding activity in CWD-infected deer. We assessed tissues comprising the alimentary tract, alimentary-associated lymphoid tissue and systemic lymphoid tissue from 5 naïve deer. PrPC was expressed in all tissues, though expression was often very low compared to the level in the CNS. IHC identified specific cell types wherein PrPC expression is very high. To compare the distribution of PrPC to PrPCWD, we examined 5 deer with advanced CWD infection. Using RT-QuIC, we detected prion seeding activity in all 21 tissues. In 3 subclinical deer sacrificed 4 months post-inoculation, we detected PrPCWD consistently in alimentary-associated lymphoid tissue, irregularly in alimentary tract tissues, and not at all in the brain. Contrary to our hypothesis that PrPC levels dictate prion accumulation, PrPC expression was higher in the lower gastrointestinal tissues than in the alimentary-associated lymphoid system and was higher in salivary glands than in the oropharyngeal lymphoid tissue. These data suggest that PrPC expression is not the sole driver of prion accumulation and that alimentary tract tissues accumulate prions before centrifugal spread from the brain occurs.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are a group of fatal neurodegenerative diseases, often referred as prion diseases. TSEs result from the misfolding of the cellular prion protein (PrPC) into a pathogenic form (PrPSc) that accumulates in the brain and lymphatic tissue. Amplification based assays such as real-time quaking induced conversion allow us to assess the conversion of PrPC to PrPSc. Real-time quaking induced conversion (RT-QuIC) can be used for the detection of PrPSc in a variety of biological tissues from humans and animals. However, RT-QuIC requires a continuous supply of freshly purified prion protein and this necessity is not sustainable in a diagnostic laboratory setting. RESULTS:In this study, we developed a method to dry and preserve the prion protein for long term storage allowing for production of the protein and storage for extended time prior to use and room temperature shipping to appropriate diagnostic laboratory destinations facilitating widespread use of RT-QuIC as a diagnostic method.
Project description:Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a naturally occurring, fatal neurodegenerative disease of cervids. The potential for swine to serve as hosts for the agent of CWD is unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the susceptibility of swine to the CWD agent following experimental oral or intracranial inoculation. Crossbred piglets were assigned to three groups, intracranially inoculated (n = 20), orally inoculated (n = 19), and noninoculated (n = 9). At approximately the age at which commercial pigs reach market weight, half of the pigs in each group were culled ("market weight" groups). The remaining pigs ("aged" groups) were allowed to incubate for up to 73 months postinoculation (mpi). Tissues collected at necropsy were examined for disease-associated prion protein (PrPSc) by Western blotting (WB), antigen capture enzyme immunoassay (EIA), immunohistochemistry (IHC), and in vitro real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC). Brain samples from selected pigs were also bioassayed in mice expressing porcine prion protein. Four intracranially inoculated aged pigs and one orally inoculated aged pig were positive by EIA, IHC, and/or WB. By RT-QuIC, PrPSc was detected in lymphoid and/or brain tissue from one or more pigs in each inoculated group. The bioassay was positive in four out of five pigs assayed. This study demonstrates that pigs can support low-level amplification of CWD prions, although the species barrier to CWD infection is relatively high. However, detection of infectivity in orally inoculated pigs with a mouse bioassay raises the possibility that naturally exposed pigs could act as a reservoir of CWD infectivity.IMPORTANCE We challenged domestic swine with the chronic wasting disease agent by inoculation directly into the brain (intracranially) or by oral gavage (orally). Disease-associated prion protein (PrPSc) was detected in brain and lymphoid tissues from intracranially and orally inoculated pigs as early as 8 months of age (6 months postinoculation). Only one pig developed clinical neurologic signs suggestive of prion disease. The amount of PrPSc in the brains and lymphoid tissues of positive pigs was small, especially in orally inoculated pigs. Regardless, positive results obtained with orally inoculated pigs suggest that it may be possible for swine to serve as a reservoir for prion disease under natural conditions.
Project description:Misfolding of the normally folded prion protein of mammals (PrPC) into infectious fibrils causes a variety of diseases, from scrapie in sheep to chronic wasting disease (CWD) in cervids. The misfolded form of PrPC, termed PrPSc, or in this case PrPCWD, interacts with PrPC to create more PrPCWD. This process is not clearly defined but is affected by the presence and interactions of biotic and abiotic cofactors. These include nucleic acids, lipids, glycosylation, pH, and ionic character. PrPC has been shown to act as a copper-binding protein in vivo, though it also binds to other divalents as well. The significance of this action has not been conclusively elucidated. Previous reports have shown that metal binding sites occur throughout the N-terminal region of PrPC. Other cations like manganese have also been shown to affect PrPC abundance in a transcript-independent fashion. Here, we examined the ability of different divalent cations to influence the stability and in vitro conversion of two variants of PrP from elk (L/M132, 26-234). We find that copper and zinc de-stabilize PrP. We also find that PrP M132 exhibits a greater degree of divalent cation induced destabilization than L132. This supports findings that leucine at position 132 confers resistance to CWD, while M132 is susceptible. However, in vitro conversion of PrP is equally suppressed by either copper or zinc, in both L132 and M132 backgrounds. This report demonstrates the complex importance of ionic character on the PrPC folding pathway selection on the route to PrPSc formation.
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.