Goats naturally devoid of PrPC are resistant to scrapie.
ABSTRACT: Prion diseases are progressive and fatal, neurodegenerative disorders described in humans and animals. According to the "protein-only" hypothesis, the normal host-encoded prion protein (PrPC) is converted into a pathological and infectious form (PrPSc) in these diseases. Transgenic knockout models have shown that PrPC is a prerequisite for the development of prion disease. In Norwegian dairy goats, a mutation (Ter) in the prion protein gene (PRNP) effectively blocks PrPC synthesis. We inoculated 12 goats (4 PRNP+/+, 4 PRNP+/Ter, and 4 PRNPTer/Ter) intracerebrally with goat scrapie prions. The mean incubation time until clinical signs of prion disease was 601 days post-inoculation (dpi) in PRNP+/+ goats and 773 dpi in PRNP+/Ter goats. PrPSc and vacuolation were similarly distributed in the central nervous system (CNS) of both groups and observed in all brain regions and segments of the spinal cord. Generally, accumulation of PrPSc was limited in peripheral organs, but all PRNP+/+ goats and 1 of 4 PRNP+/Ter goats were positive in head lymph nodes. The four PRNPTer/Ter goats remained healthy, without clinical signs of prion disease, and were euthanized 1260 dpi. As expected, no accumulation of PrPSc was observed in the CNS or peripheral tissues of this group, as assessed by immunohistochemistry, enzyme immunoassay, and real-time quaking-induced conversion. Our study shows for the first time that animals devoid of PrPC due to a natural mutation do not propagate prions and are resistant to scrapie. Clinical onset of disease is delayed in heterozygous goats expressing about 50% of PrPC levels.
Project description:Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are a group of neurodegenerative diseases affecting a wide range of mammalian species. They are caused by prions, a proteinaceous pathogen essentially composed of PrPSc, an abnormal isoform of the host encoded cellular prion protein PrPC. Constrained steric interactions between PrPSc and PrPC are thought to provide prions with species specificity, and to control cross-species transmission into other host populations, including humans. Transgenetic expression of foreign PrP genes has been successfully and widely used to overcome the recognized resistance of mouse to foreign TSE sources. Rabbit is one of the species that exhibit a pronounced resistance to TSEs. Most attempts to infect experimentally rabbit have failed, except after inoculation with cell-free generated rabbit prions. To gain insights on the molecular determinants of the relative resistance of rabbits to prions, we generated transgenic rabbits expressing the susceptible V136R154Q171 allele of the ovine PRNP gene on a rabbit wild type PRNP New Zealand background and assessed their experimental susceptibility to scrapie prions. All transgenic animals developed a typical TSE 6-8 months after intracerebral inoculation, whereas wild type rabbits remained healthy more than 700 days after inoculation. Despite the endogenous presence of rabbit PrPC, only ovine PrPSc was detectable in the brains of diseased animals. Collectively these data indicate that the low susceptibility of rabbits to prion infection is not enciphered within their non-PrP genetic background.
Project description:Prions induce a fatal neurodegenerative disease in infected host brain based on the refolding and aggregation of the host-encoded prion protein PrPC into PrPSc. Structurally distinct PrPSc conformers can give rise to multiple prion strains. Constrained interactions between PrPC and different PrPSc strains can in turn lead to certain PrPSc (sub)populations being selected for cross-species transmission, or even produce mutation-like events. By contrast, prion strains are generally conserved when transmitted within the same species, or to transgenic mice expressing homologous PrPC. Here, we compare the strain properties of a representative sheep scrapie isolate transmitted to a panel of transgenic mouse lines expressing varying levels of homologous PrPC. While breeding true in mice expressing PrPC at near physiological levels, scrapie prions evolve consistently towards different strain components in mice beyond a certain threshold of PrPC overexpression. Our results support the view that PrPC gene dosage can influence prion evolution on homotypic transmission.
Project description:The precise molecular mechanism of how misfolded ?-synuclein (?-Syn) accumulates and spreads in synucleinopathies is still unknown. Here, we show the role of the cellular prion protein (PrPC) in mediating the uptake and the spread of recombinant ?-Syn amyloids. The in vitro data revealed that the presence of PrPC fosters the higher uptake of ?-Syn amyloid fibrils, which was also confirmed in vivo in wild type (Prnp +/+) compared to PrP knock-out (Prnp -/-) mice. Additionally, the presence of ?-Syn amyloids blocked the replication of scrapie prions (PrPSc) in vitro and ex vivo, indicating a link between the two proteins. Indeed, whilst PrPC is mediating the internalization of ?-Syn amyloids, PrPSc is not able to replicate in their presence. This observation has pathological relevance, since several reported case studies show that the accumulation of ?-Syn amyloid deposits in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease patients is accompanied by a longer disease course.
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:Prion diseases are transmissible neurodegenerative disorders of prion protein (PrP) conformation. Prion replication by conversion of benign PrPC isoforms into disease-specific PrPSc isoforms is intimately involved in prion disease pathogenesis and may be initiated in cholesterol-rich caveolae-like domains (CLD). Concentrations of the cholesterol transporter ATP-binding cassette A1 protein (ABCA1) are elevated in pre-clinical scrapie prion-infected mice and in prion-infected cells in vitro. Elevation of ABCA1 in prion-infected brain is not a direct consequence of local PrPSc accumulation, indeed levels of ABCA1 are comparable in brain regions that differ dramatically in the amount of PrPSc. Similarly, ABCA1 concentrations are identical in normal mice, transgenic mice overexpressing PrP and PrP knockout mice. In contrast, PrPC and PrPSc levels, but not Prnp mRNA, were increased by overexpression of ABCA1 in N2a neuroblastoma cells and scrapie prion-infected N2a cells (ScN2a). Conversely, RNAi-mediated knock down of Abca1 expression decreased the concentrations of PrPC in N2a cells and of PrPSc in ScN2a cells. These results suggest that ABCA1's effects on PrPC levels are post-translational and may reflect an increase in of PrPC stability, mediated either indirectly by increasing membrane cholesterol and CLD formation or by other functions of ABCA1. The increased supply of PrPC available for conversion would lead to increased PrPSc formation.
Project description:Prion infection induces conformational conversion of the normal prion protein PrPC, into the pathogenic isoform PrPSc, in prion diseases. It has been shown that PrP-knockout (Prnp0/0) mice transgenically reconstituted with a mouse-hamster chimeric PrP lacking N-terminal residues 23-88, or Tg(MHM2?23-88)/Prnp 0/0 mice, neither developed the disease nor accumulated MHM2Sc?23-88 in their brains after inoculation with RML prions. In contrast, RML-inoculated Tg(MHM2?23-88)/Prnp 0/+ mice developed the disease with abundant accumulation of MHM2Sc?23-88 in their brains. These results indicate that MHM2?23-88 itself might either lose or greatly reduce the converting capacity to MHM2Sc?23-88, and that the co-expressing wild-type PrPC can stimulate the conversion of MHM2?23-88 to MHM2Sc?23-88 in trans. In the present study, we confirmed that Tg(MHM2?23-88)/Prnp 0/0 mice remained resistant to RML prions for up to 730 days after inoculation. However, we found that Tg(MHM2?23-88)/Prnp 0/0 mice were susceptible to 22L prions, developing the disease with prolonged incubation times and accumulating MHM2Sc?23-88 in their brains. We also found accelerated conversion of MHM2?23-88 into MHM2Sc?23-88 in the brains of RML- and 22L-inoculated Tg(MHM2?23-88)/Prnp 0/+ mice. However, wild-type PrPSc accumulated less in the brains of these inoculated Tg(MHM2?23-88)/Prnp 0/+ mice, compared with RML- and 22L-inoculated Prnp 0/+ mice. These results show that MHM2?23-88 itself can convert into MHM2Sc?23-88 without the help of the trans-acting PrPC, and that, irrespective of prion strains inoculated, the co-expressing wild-type PrPC stimulates the conversion of MHM2?23-88 into MHM2Sc?23-88, but to the contrary, the co-expressing MHM2?23-88 disturbs the conversion of wild-type PrPC into PrPSc.
Project description:Biological effect of poly-L-arginine (PLR), the linear homopolymer comprised of L-arginine, was investigated to determine the activity of suppressing prions. PLR decreased the level of scrapie prion protein (PrPSc) in cultured cells permanently infected with prions in a concentration-dependent manner. The PrPSc inhibition efficacy of PLR was greater than that of another prion-suppressant poly-L-lysine (PLK) in a molecular mass-dependent fashion. The effective concentration of PLR to inhibit prions was achieved safely below the cytotoxic concentrations, and overall cytotoxicity of PLR was similar to that of PLK. PLR did not alter the cellular prion protein (PrPC) level and was unable to change the states of preformed recombinant PrP aggregates and PrPSc from prion-infected cells. These data eliminate the possibility that the action mechanism of PLR is through removal of PrPC and pre-existing PrPSc. However, PLR formed complexes with plasminogen that stimulates prion propagation via conversion of PrPC to the misfolded isoform, PrPSc. The plasminogen-PLR complex demonstrated the greater positive surface charge values than the similar complex with PLK, raising the possibility that PLR interferes with the role of cofactor for PrPSc generation better than PLK.
Project description:Prion diseases are infectious neurodegenerative disorders linked to the accumulation in the central nervous system of the abnormally folded prion protein (PrP) scrapie (PrPsc), which is thought to be the infectious agent. Once present, PrPsc catalyzes the conversion of naturally occurring cellular PrP (PrPc) to PrPsc. Prion infection is usually initiated in peripheral organs, but the mechanisms involved in infectious spread to the brain are unclear. We found that both PrPc and PrPsc were actively released into the extracellular environment by PrP-expressing cells before and after infection with sheep prions, respectively. Based on Western blot with specific markers, MS, and morphological analysis, our data revealed that PrPc and PrPsc in the medium are associated with exosomes, membranous vesicles that are secreted upon fusion of multivesicular endosomes with the plasma membrane. Furthermore, we found that exosomes bearing PrPsc are infectious. Our data suggest that exosomes may contribute to intercellular membrane exchange and the spread of prions throughout the organism.
Project description:Prion diseases are associated with the conversion of the alpha-helix rich prion protein (PrPC) into a beta-structure-rich insoluble conformer (PrPSc) that is thought to be infectious. The mechanism for the PrPC-->PrPSc conversion and its relationship with the pathological effects of prion diseases are poorly understood, partly because of our limited knowledge of the structure of PrPSc. In particular, the way in which mutations in the PRNP gene yield variants that confer different susceptibilities to disease needs to be clarified. We report here the 2.5-A-resolution crystal structures of three scrapie-susceptibility ovine PrP variants complexed with an antibody that binds to PrPC and to PrPSc; they identify two important features of the PrPC-->PrPSc conversion. First, the epitope of the antibody mainly consists of the last two turns of ovine PrP second alpha-helix. We show that this is a structural invariant in the PrPC-->PrPSc conversion; taken together with biochemical data, this leads to a model of the conformational change in which the two PrPC C-terminal alpha-helices are conserved in PrPSc, whereas secondary structure changes are located in the N-terminal alpha-helix. Second, comparison of the structures of scrapie-sensitivity variants defines local changes in distant parts of the protein that account for the observed differences of PrPC stability, resistant variants being destabilized compared with sensitive ones. Additive contributions of these sensitivity-modulating mutations to resistance suggest a possible causal relationship between scrapie resistance and lowered stability of the PrP protein.
Project description:Prion diseases are neurodegenerative disorders associated in most cases with the accumulation in the central nervous system of PrPSc (conformationally altered isoform of cellular prion protein (PrPC); Sc for scrapie), a partially protease-resistant isoform of the PrPC. PrPSc is thought to be the causative agent of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. The mechanisms involved in the intercellular transfer of PrPSc are still enigmatic. Recently, small cellular vesicles of endosomal origin called exosomes have been proposed to contribute to the spread of prions in cell culture models. Retroviruses such as murine leukemia virus (MuLV) or human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) have been shown to assemble and bud into detergent-resistant microdomains and into intracellular compartments such as late endosomes/multivesicular bodies. Here we report that moloney murine leukemia virus (MoMuLV) infection strongly enhances the release of scrapie infectivity in the supernatant of coinfected cells. Under these conditions, we found that PrPC, PrPSc and scrapie infectivity are recruited by both MuLV virions and exosomes. We propose that retroviruses can be important cofactors involved in the spread of the pathological prion agent.