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Sample records for understanding human prion

  1. Yeast prions and human prion-like proteins: sequence features and prediction methods.

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    Cascarina, Sean M; Ross, Eric D

    2014-06-01

    Prions are self-propagating infectious protein isoforms. A growing number of prions have been identified in yeast, each resulting from the conversion of soluble proteins into an insoluble amyloid form. These yeast prions have served as a powerful model system for studying the causes and consequences of prion aggregation. Remarkably, a number of human proteins containing prion-like domains, defined as domains with compositional similarity to yeast prion domains, have recently been linked to various human degenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This suggests that the lessons learned from yeast prions may help in understanding these human diseases. In this review, we examine what has been learned about the amino acid sequence basis for prion aggregation in yeast, and how this information has been used to develop methods to predict aggregation propensity. We then discuss how this information is being applied to understand human disease, and the challenges involved in applying yeast prediction methods to higher organisms.

  2. Human prion diseases: surgical lessons learned from iatrogenic prion transmission.

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    Bonda, David J; Manjila, Sunil; Mehndiratta, Prachi; Khan, Fahd; Miller, Benjamin R; Onwuzulike, Kaine; Puoti, Gianfranco; Cohen, Mark L; Schonberger, Lawrence B; Cali, Ignazio

    2016-07-01

    The human prion diseases, or transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, have captivated our imaginations since their discovery in the Fore linguistic group in Papua New Guinea in the 1950s. The mysterious and poorly understood "infectious protein" has become somewhat of a household name in many regions across the globe. From bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly identified as mad cow disease, to endocannibalism, media outlets have capitalized on these devastatingly fatal neurological conditions. Interestingly, since their discovery, there have been more than 492 incidents of iatrogenic transmission of prion diseases, largely resulting from prion-contaminated growth hormone and dura mater grafts. Although fewer than 9 cases of probable iatrogenic neurosurgical cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) have been reported worldwide, the likelihood of some missed cases and the potential for prion transmission by neurosurgery create considerable concern. Laboratory studies indicate that standard decontamination and sterilization procedures may be insufficient to completely remove infectivity from prion-contaminated instruments. In this unfortunate event, the instruments may transmit the prion disease to others. Much caution therefore should be taken in the absence of strong evidence against the presence of a prion disease in a neurosurgical patient. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) have devised risk assessment and decontamination protocols for the prevention of iatrogenic transmission of the prion diseases, incidents of possible exposure to prions have unfortunately occurred in the United States. In this article, the authors outline the historical discoveries that led from kuru to the identification and isolation of the pathological prion proteins in addition to providing a brief description of human prion diseases and iatrogenic forms of CJD, a brief history of prion disease nosocomial transmission

  3. Recombinant human prion protein inhibits prion propagation in vitro.

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    Yuan, Jue; Zhan, Yi-An; Abskharon, Romany; Xiao, Xiangzhu; Martinez, Manuel Camacho; Zhou, Xiaochen; Kneale, Geoff; Mikol, Jacqueline; Lehmann, Sylvain; Surewicz, Witold K; Castilla, Joaquín; Steyaert, Jan; Zhang, Shulin; Kong, Qingzhong; Petersen, Robert B; Wohlkonig, Alexandre; Zou, Wen-Quan

    2013-10-09

    Prion diseases are associated with the conformational conversion of the cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) into the pathological scrapie isoform (PrP(Sc)) in the brain. Both the in vivo and in vitro conversion of PrP(C) into PrP(Sc) is significantly inhibited by differences in amino acid sequence between the two molecules. Using protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA), we now report that the recombinant full-length human PrP (rHuPrP23-231) (that is unglycosylated and lacks the glycophosphatidylinositol anchor) is a strong inhibitor of human prion propagation. Furthermore, rHuPrP23-231 also inhibits mouse prion propagation in a scrapie-infected mouse cell line. Notably, it binds to PrP(Sc), but not PrP(C), suggesting that the inhibitory effect of recombinant PrP results from blocking the interaction of brain PrP(C) with PrP(Sc). Our findings suggest a new avenue for treating prion diseases, in which a patient's own unglycosylated and anchorless PrP is used to inhibit PrP(Sc) propagation without inducing immune response side effects.

  4. Infectious prion diseases in humans: cannibalism, iatrogenicity and zoonoses.

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    Haïk, Stéphane; Brandel, Jean-Philippe

    2014-08-01

    In contrast with other neurodegenerative disorders associated to protein misfolding, human prion diseases include infectious forms (also called transmitted forms) such as kuru, iatrogenic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The transmissible agent is thought to be solely composed of the abnormal isoform (PrP(Sc)) of the host-encoded prion protein that accumulated in the central nervous system of affected individuals. Compared to its normal counterpart, PrP(Sc) is β-sheet enriched and aggregated and its propagation is based on an autocatalytic conversion process. Increasing evidence supports the view that conformational variations of PrP(Sc) encoded the biological properties of the various prion strains that have been isolated by transmission studies in experimental models. Infectious forms of human prion diseases played a pivotal role in the emergence of the prion concept and in the characterization of the very unconventional properties of prions. They provide a unique model to understand how prion strains are selected and propagate in humans. Here, we review and discuss how genetic factors interplay with strain properties and route of transmission to influence disease susceptibility, incubation period and phenotypic expression in the light of the kuru epidemics due to ritual endocannibalism, the various series iatrogenic diseases secondary to extractive growth hormone treatment or dura mater graft and the epidemics of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease linked to dietary exposure to the agent of bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  5. Prions

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    W. Bodemer

    2016-09-01

    BSE is always unknown. Telemetry revealed a shift in sleep–wake cycles early on, long before behavioral changes or clinical symptoms appeared. Pathology confirmed non-neuronal tissue as hidden places where prions exist. The rhesus model also allowed first comparative studies of epigenetic modifications on RNA in peripheral blood and brain tissue collected from uninfected and prion-infected animals. To conclude, our studies clearly demonstrated that this model is valid since progression to disease is almost identical to human CJD.

  6. Synthetic Prions Provide Clues for Understanding Prion Diseases.

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    Imberdis, Thibaut; Harris, David A

    2016-04-01

    This Commentary highlights the article by Makarava et al that discusses the formation of synthetic prions and the role of substrate levels in their evolution. Copyright © 2016 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  7. Atypical scrapie prions from sheep and lack of disease in transgenic mice overexpressing human prion protein.

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    Wadsworth, Jonathan D F; Joiner, Susan; Linehan, Jacqueline M; Balkema-Buschmann, Anne; Spiropoulos, John; Simmons, Marion M; Griffiths, Peter C; Groschup, Martin H; Hope, James; Brandner, Sebastian; Asante, Emmanuel A; Collinge, John

    2013-11-01

    Public and animal health controls to limit human exposure to animal prions are focused on bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), but other prion strains in ruminants may also have zoonotic potential. One example is atypical/Nor98 scrapie, which evaded statutory diagnostic methods worldwide until the early 2000s. To investigate whether sheep infected with scrapie prions could be another source of infection, we inoculated transgenic mice that overexpressed human prion protein with brain tissue from sheep with natural field cases of classical and atypical scrapie, sheep with experimental BSE, and cattle with BSE. We found that these mice were susceptible to BSE prions, but disease did not develop after prolonged postinoculation periods when mice were inoculated with classical or atypical scrapie prions. These data are consistent with the conclusion that prion disease is less likely to develop in humans after exposure to naturally occurring prions of sheep than after exposure to epizootic BSE prions of ruminants.

  8. Molecular Pathology of Human Prion Diseases

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    2009-03-01

    Full Text Available Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative conditions in humans and animals. In this review, we summarize the molecular background of phenotypic variability, relation of prion protein (PrP to other proteins associated with neurodegenerative diseases, and pathogenesis of neuronal vulnerability. PrP exists in different forms that may be present in both diseased and non-diseased brain, however, abundant disease-associated PrP together with tissue pathology characterizes prion diseases and associates with transmissibility. Prion diseases have different etiological background with distinct pathogenesis and phenotype. Mutations of the prion protein gene are associated with genetic forms. The codon 129 polymorphism in combination with the Western blot pattern of PrP after proteinase K digestion serves as a basis for molecular subtyping of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Tissue damage may result from several parallel, interacting or subsequent pathways that involve cellular systems associated with synapses, protein processing, oxidative stress, autophagy, and apoptosis.

  9. Molecular Modeling of Prion Transmission to Humans

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    Etienne Levavasseur

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available Using different prion strains, such as the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease agent and the atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy agents, and using transgenic mice expressing human or bovine prion protein, we assessed the reliability of protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA to model interspecies and genetic barriers to prion transmission. We compared our PMCA results with in vivo transmission data characterized by attack rates, i.e., the percentage of inoculated mice that developed the disease. Using 19 seed/substrate combinations, we observed that a significant PMCA amplification was only obtained when the mouse line used as substrate is susceptible to the corresponding strain. Our results suggest that PMCA provides a useful tool to study genetic barriers to transmission and to study the zoonotic potential of emerging prion strains.

  10. Chronic wasting disease prions are not transmissible to transgenic mice overexpressing human prion protein.

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    Sandberg, Malin K; Al-Doujaily, Huda; Sigurdson, Christina J; Glatzel, Markus; O'Malley, Catherine; Powell, Caroline; Asante, Emmanuel A; Linehan, Jacqueline M; Brandner, Sebastian; Wadsworth, Jonathan D F; Collinge, John

    2010-10-01

    Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a prion disease that affects free-ranging and captive cervids, including mule deer, white-tailed deer, Rocky Mountain elk and moose. CWD-infected cervids have been reported in 14 USA states, two Canadian provinces and in South Korea. The possibility of a zoonotic transmission of CWD prions via diet is of particular concern in North America where hunting of cervids is a popular sport. To investigate the potential public health risks posed by CWD prions, we have investigated whether intracerebral inoculation of brain and spinal cord from CWD-infected mule deer transmits prion infection to transgenic mice overexpressing human prion protein with methionine or valine at polymorphic residue 129. These transgenic mice have been utilized in extensive transmission studies of human and animal prion disease and are susceptible to BSE and vCJD prions, allowing comparison with CWD. Here, we show that these mice proved entirely resistant to infection with mule deer CWD prions arguing that the transmission barrier associated with this prion strain/host combination is greater than that observed with classical BSE prions. However, it is possible that CWD may be caused by multiple prion strains. Further studies will be required to evaluate the transmission properties of distinct cervid prion strains as they are characterized.

  11. Synthetic prions and other human neurodegenerative proteinopathies.

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    Le, Nhat Tran Thanh; Narkiewicz, Joanna; Aulić, Suzana; Salzano, Giulia; Tran, Hoa Thanh; Scaini, Denis; Moda, Fabio; Giachin, Gabriele; Legname, Giuseppe

    2015-09-02

    Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) are a heterogeneous group of neurodegenerative disorders. The common feature of these diseases is the pathological conversion of the normal cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) into a β-structure-rich conformer-termed PrP(Sc). The latter can induce a self-perpetuating process leading to amplification and spreading of pathological protein assemblies. Much evidence suggests that PrP(Sc) itself is able to recruit and misfold PrP(C) into the pathological conformation. Recent data have shown that recombinant PrP(C) can be misfolded in vitro and the resulting synthetic conformers are able to induce the conversion of PrP(C) into PrP(Sc)in vivo. In this review we describe the state-of-the-art of the body of literature in this field. In addition, we describe a cell-based assay to test synthetic prions in cells, providing further evidence that synthetic amyloids are able to template conversion of PrP into prion inclusions. Studying prions might help to understand the pathological mechanisms governing other neurodegenerative diseases. Aggregation and deposition of misfolded proteins is a common feature of several neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other disorders. Although the proteins implicated in each of these diseases differ, they share a common prion mechanism. Recombinant proteins are able to aggregate in vitro into β-rich amyloid fibrils, sharing some features of the aggregates found in the brain. Several studies have reported that intracerebral inoculation of synthetic aggregates lead to unique pathology, which spread progressively to distal brain regions and reduced survival time in animals. Here, we review the prion-like features of different proteins involved in neurodegenerative disorders, such as α-synuclein, superoxide dismutase-1, amyloid-β and tau. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  12. Increased infectivity of anchorless mouse scrapie prions in transgenic mice overexpressing human prion protein.

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    Race, Brent; Phillips, Katie; Meade-White, Kimberly; Striebel, James; Chesebro, Bruce

    2015-06-01

    Prion protein (PrP) is found in all mammals, mostly as a glycoprotein anchored to the plasma membrane by a C-terminal glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) linkage. Following prion infection, host protease-sensitive prion protein (PrPsen or PrPC) is converted into an abnormal, disease-associated, protease-resistant form (PrPres). Biochemical characteristics, such as the PrP amino acid sequence, and posttranslational modifications, such as glycosylation and GPI anchoring, can affect the transmissibility of prions as well as the biochemical properties of the PrPres generated. Previous in vivo studies on the effects of GPI anchoring on prion infectivity have not examined cross-species transmission. In this study, we tested the effect of lack of GPI anchoring on a species barrier model using mice expressing human PrP. In this model, anchorless 22L prions derived from tg44 mice were more infectious than 22L prions derived from C57BL/10 mice when tested in tg66 transgenic mice, which expressed wild-type anchored human PrP at 8- to 16-fold above normal. Thus, the lack of the GPI anchor on the PrPres from tg44 mice appeared to reduce the effect of the mouse-human PrP species barrier. In contrast, neither source of prions induced disease in tgRM transgenic mice, which expressed human PrP at 2- to 4-fold above normal. Prion protein (PrP) is found in all mammals, usually attached to cells by an anchor molecule called GPI. Following prion infection, PrP is converted into a disease-associated form (PrPres). While most prion diseases are species specific, this finding is not consistent, and species barriers differ in strength. The amino acid sequence of PrP varies among species, and this variability affects prion species barriers. However, other PrP modifications, including glycosylation and GPI anchoring, may also influence cross-species infectivity. We studied the effect of PrP GPI anchoring using a mouse-to-human species barrier model. Experiments showed that prions produced by

  13. A naturally occurring variant of the human prion protein completely prevents prion disease.

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    Asante, Emmanuel A; Smidak, Michelle; Grimshaw, Andrew; Houghton, Richard; Tomlinson, Andrew; Jeelani, Asif; Jakubcova, Tatiana; Hamdan, Shyma; Richard-Londt, Angela; Linehan, Jacqueline M; Brandner, Sebastian; Alpers, Michael; Whitfield, Jerome; Mead, Simon; Wadsworth, Jonathan D F; Collinge, John

    2015-06-25

    Mammalian prions, transmissible agents causing lethal neurodegenerative diseases, are composed of assemblies of misfolded cellular prion protein (PrP). A novel PrP variant, G127V, was under positive evolutionary selection during the epidemic of kuru--an acquired prion disease epidemic of the Fore population in Papua New Guinea--and appeared to provide strong protection against disease in the heterozygous state. Here we have investigated the protective role of this variant and its interaction with the common, worldwide M129V PrP polymorphism. V127 was seen exclusively on a M129 PRNP allele. We demonstrate that transgenic mice expressing both variant and wild-type human PrP are completely resistant to both kuru and classical Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) prions (which are closely similar) but can be infected with variant CJD prions, a human prion strain resulting from exposure to bovine spongiform encephalopathy prions to which the Fore were not exposed. Notably, mice expressing only PrP V127 were completely resistant to all prion strains, demonstrating a different molecular mechanism to M129V, which provides its relative protection against classical CJD and kuru in the heterozygous state. Indeed, this single amino acid substitution (G→V) at a residue invariant in vertebrate evolution is as protective as deletion of the protein. Further study in transgenic mice expressing different ratios of variant and wild-type PrP indicates that not only is PrP V127 completely refractory to prion conversion but acts as a potent dose-dependent inhibitor of wild-type prion propagation.

  14. Structural determinants of phenotypic diversity and replication rate of human prions.

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    Jiri G Safar

    2015-04-01

    Full Text Available The infectious pathogen responsible for prion diseases is the misfolded, aggregated form of the prion protein, PrPSc. In contrast to recent progress in studies of laboratory rodent-adapted prions, current understanding of the molecular basis of human prion diseases and, especially, their vast phenotypic diversity is very limited. Here, we have purified proteinase resistant PrPSc aggregates from two major phenotypes of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD, determined their conformational stability and replication tempo in vitro, as well as characterized structural organization using recently emerged approaches based on hydrogen/deuterium (H/D exchange coupled with mass spectrometry. Our data clearly demonstrate that these phenotypically distant prions differ in a major way with regard to their structural organization, both at the level of the polypeptide backbone (as indicated by backbone amide H/D exchange data as well as the quaternary packing arrangements (as indicated by H/D exchange kinetics for histidine side chains. Furthermore, these data indicate that, in contrast to previous observations on yeast and some murine prion strains, the replication rate of sCJD prions is primarily determined not by conformational stability but by specific structural features that control the growth rate of prion protein aggregates.

  15. Human prion diseases in the United States.

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    Robert C Holman

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Prion diseases are a family of rare, progressive, neurodegenerative disorders that affect humans and animals. The most common form of human prion disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD, occurs worldwide. Variant CJD (vCJD, a recently emerged human prion disease, is a zoonotic foodborne disorder that occurs almost exclusively in countries with outbreaks of bovine spongiform encephalopathy. This study describes the occurrence and epidemiology of CJD and vCJD in the United States. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Analysis of CJD and vCJD deaths using death certificates of US residents for 1979-2006, and those identified through other surveillance mechanisms during 1996-2008. Since CJD is invariably fatal and illness duration is usually less than one year, the CJD incidence is estimated as the death rate. During 1979 through 2006, an estimated 6,917 deaths with CJD as a cause of death were reported in the United States, an annual average of approximately 247 deaths (range 172-304 deaths. The average annual age-adjusted incidence for CJD was 0.97 per 1,000,000 persons. Most (61.8% of the CJD deaths occurred among persons >or=65 years of age for an average annual incidence of 4.8 per 1,000,000 persons in this population. Most deaths were among whites (94.6%; the age-adjusted incidence for whites was 2.7 times higher than that for blacks (1.04 and 0.40, respectively. Three patients who died since 2004 were reported with vCJD; epidemiologic evidence indicated that their infection was acquired outside of the United States. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: Surveillance continues to show an annual CJD incidence rate of about 1 case per 1,000,000 persons and marked differences in CJD rates by age and race in the United States. Ongoing surveillance remains important for monitoring the stability of the CJD incidence rates, and detecting occurrences of vCJD and possibly other novel prion diseases in the United States.

  16. Controlling the prion propensity of glutamine/asparagine-rich proteins.

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    Paul, Kacy R; Ross, Eric D

    2015-01-01

    The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae can harbor a number of distinct prions. Most of the yeast prion proteins contain a glutamine/asparagine (Q/N) rich region that drives prion formation. Prion-like domains, defined as regions with high compositional similarity to yeast prion domains, are common in eukaryotic proteomes, and mutations in various human proteins containing prion-like domains have been linked to degenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Here, we discuss a recent study in which we utilized two strategies to generate prion activity in non-prion Q/N-rich domains. First, we made targeted mutations in four non-prion Q/N-rich domains, replacing predicted prion-inhibiting amino acids with prion-promoting amino acids. All four mutants formed foci when expressed in yeast, and two acquired bona fide prion activity. Prion activity could be generated with as few as two mutations, suggesting that many non-prion Q/N-rich proteins may be just a small number of mutations from acquiring aggregation or prion activity. Second, we created tandem repeats of short prion-prone segments, and observed length-dependent prion activity. These studies demonstrate the considerable progress that has been made in understanding the sequence basis for aggregation of prion and prion-like domains, and suggest possible mechanisms by which new prion domains could evolve.

  17. Yeast prions: structure, biology, and prion-handling systems.

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    Wickner, Reed B; Shewmaker, Frank P; Bateman, David A; Edskes, Herman K; Gorkovskiy, Anton; Dayani, Yaron; Bezsonov, Evgeny E

    2015-03-01

    A prion is an infectious protein horizontally transmitting a disease or trait without a required nucleic acid. Yeast and fungal prions are nonchromosomal genes composed of protein, generally an altered form of a protein that catalyzes the same alteration of the protein. Yeast prions are thus transmitted both vertically (as genes composed of protein) and horizontally (as infectious proteins, or prions). Formation of amyloids (linear ordered β-sheet-rich protein aggregates with β-strands perpendicular to the long axis of the filament) underlies most yeast and fungal prions, and a single prion protein can have any of several distinct self-propagating amyloid forms with different biological properties (prion variants). Here we review the mechanism of faithful templating of protein conformation, the biological roles of these prions, and their interactions with cellular chaperones, the Btn2 and Cur1 aggregate-handling systems, and other cellular factors governing prion generation and propagation. Human amyloidoses include the PrP-based prion conditions and many other, more common amyloid-based diseases, several of which show prion-like features. Yeast prions increasingly are serving as models for the understanding and treatment of many mammalian amyloidoses. Patients with different clinical pictures of the same amyloidosis may be the equivalent of yeasts with different prion variants. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

  18. Experimental sheep BSE prions generate the vCJD phenotype when serially passaged in transgenic mice expressing human prion protein.

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    Joiner, Susan; Asante, Emmanuel A; Linehan, Jacqueline M; Brock, Lara; Brandner, Sebastian; Bellworthy, Susan J; Simmons, Marion M; Hope, James; Collinge, John; Wadsworth, Jonathan D F

    2018-03-15

    The epizootic prion disease of cattle, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), causes variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in humans following dietary exposure. While it is assumed that all cases of vCJD attributed to a dietary aetiology are related to cattle BSE, sheep and goats are susceptible to experimental oral challenge with cattle BSE prions and farmed animals in the UK were undoubtedly exposed to BSE-contaminated meat and bone meal during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Although no natural field cases of sheep BSE have been identified, it cannot be excluded that some BSE-infected sheep might have entered the European human food chain. Evaluation of the zoonotic potential of sheep BSE prions has been addressed by examining the transmission properties of experimental brain isolates in transgenic mice that express human prion protein, however to-date there have been relatively few studies. Here we report that serial passage of experimental sheep BSE prions in transgenic mice expressing human prion protein with methionine at residue 129 produces the vCJD phenotype that mirrors that seen when the same mice are challenged with vCJD prions from patient brain. These findings are congruent with those reported previously by another laboratory, and thereby strongly reinforce the view that sheep BSE prions could have acted as a causal agent of vCJD within Europe. Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  19. Differential overexpression of SERPINA3 in human prion diseases.

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    Vanni, S; Moda, F; Zattoni, M; Bistaffa, E; De Cecco, E; Rossi, M; Giaccone, G; Tagliavini, F; Haïk, S; Deslys, J P; Zanusso, G; Ironside, J W; Ferrer, I; Kovacs, G G; Legname, G

    2017-11-15

    Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative disorders with sporadic, genetic or acquired etiologies. The molecular alterations leading to the onset and the spreading of these diseases are still unknown. In a previous work we identified a five-gene signature able to distinguish intracranially BSE-infected macaques from healthy ones, with SERPINA3 showing the most prominent dysregulation. We analyzed 128 suitable frontal cortex samples, from prion-affected patients (variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) n = 20, iatrogenic CJD (iCJD) n = 11, sporadic CJD (sCJD) n = 23, familial CJD (gCJD) n = 17, fatal familial insomnia (FFI) n = 9, Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker syndrome (GSS)) n = 4), patients with Alzheimer disease (AD, n = 14) and age-matched controls (n = 30). Real Time-quantitative PCR was performed for SERPINA3 transcript, and ACTB, RPL19, GAPDH and B2M were used as reference genes. We report SERPINA3 to be strongly up-regulated in the brain of all human prion diseases, with only a mild up-regulation in AD. We show that this striking up-regulation, both at the mRNA and at the protein level, is present in all types of human prion diseases analyzed, although to a different extent for each specific disorder. Our data suggest that SERPINA3 may be involved in the pathogenesis and the progression of prion diseases, representing a valid tool for distinguishing different forms of these disorders in humans.

  20. Defining the conformational features of anchorless, poorly neuroinvasive prions.

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    Cyrus Bett

    Full Text Available Infectious prions cause diverse clinical signs and form an extraordinary range of structures, from amorphous aggregates to fibrils. How the conformation of a prion dictates the disease phenotype remains unclear. Mice expressing GPI-anchorless or GPI-anchored prion protein exposed to the same infectious prion develop fibrillar or nonfibrillar aggregates, respectively, and show a striking divergence in the disease pathogenesis. To better understand how a prion's physical properties govern the pathogenesis, infectious anchorless prions were passaged in mice expressing anchorless prion protein and the resulting prions were biochemically characterized. Serial passage of anchorless prions led to a significant decrease in the incubation period to terminal disease and altered the biochemical properties, consistent with a transmission barrier effect. After an intraperitoneal exposure, anchorless prions were only weakly neuroinvasive, as prion plaques rarely occurred in the brain yet were abundant in extracerebral sites such as heart and adipose tissue. Anchorless prions consistently showed very high stability in chaotropes or when heated in SDS, and were highly resistant to enzyme digestion. Consistent with the results in mice, anchorless prions from a human patient were also highly stable in chaotropes. These findings reveal that anchorless prions consist of fibrillar and highly stable conformers. The additional finding from our group and others that both anchorless and anchored prion fibrils are poorly neuroinvasive strengthens the hypothesis that a fibrillar prion structure impedes efficient CNS invasion.

  1. Detection of prion infectivity in fat tissues of scrapie-infected mice.

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    Brent Race

    2008-12-01

    Full Text Available Distribution of prion infectivity in organs and tissues is important in understanding prion disease pathogenesis and designing strategies to prevent prion infection in animals and humans. Transmission of prion disease from cattle to humans resulted in banning human consumption of ruminant nervous system and certain other tissues. In the present study, we surveyed tissue distribution of prion infectivity in mice with prion disease. We show for the first time detection of infectivity in white and brown fat. Since high amounts of ruminant fat are consumed by humans and also incorporated into animal feed, fat-containing tissues may pose a previously unappreciated hazard for spread of prion infection.

  2. Prions

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    Zijderveld, van F.G.

    2007-01-01

    The report 'Zoonoses and Zoonotic Agents in Humans, Food, Animals and Feed in The Netherlands 2003 - 2006' is based on data that is reported annually to the European Commission, in accordance with the Directive 2003/99/EC on the monitoring of zoonoses and zoonotic agents. They are supplemented with

  3. Molecular dynamics study of the dominant-negative E219K polymorphism in human prion protein

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    Jahandideh, Samad; Jamalan, Mostafa; Faridounnia, Maryam|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/338666923

    2015-01-01

    Human prion diseases are associated with misfolding or aggregation of the Human Prion Protein (HuPrP). Missense mutations in the HuPrP gene, contribute to conversion of HuPrP(C) to HuPrP(Sc) and amyloid formation. Based on our previous comprehensive study, three missense mutations, from two

  4. Genetic human prion disease modelled in PrP transgenic Drosophila.

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    Thackray, Alana M; Cardova, Alzbeta; Wolf, Hanna; Pradl, Lydia; Vorberg, Ina; Jackson, Walker S; Bujdoso, Raymond

    2017-09-20

    Inherited human prion diseases, such as fatal familial insomnia (FFI) and familial Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (fCJD), are associated with autosomal dominant mutations in the human prion protein gene PRNP and accumulation of PrP Sc , an abnormal isomer of the normal host protein PrP C , in the brain of affected individuals. PrP Sc is the principal component of the transmissible neurotoxic prion agent. It is important to identify molecular pathways and cellular processes that regulate prion formation and prion-induced neurotoxicity. This will allow identification of possible therapeutic interventions for individuals with, or at risk from, genetic human prion disease. Increasingly, Drosophila has been used to model human neurodegenerative disease. An important unanswered question is whether genetic prion disease with concomitant spontaneous prion formation can be modelled in Drosophila We have used pUAST/PhiC31-mediated site-directed mutagenesis to generate Drosophila transgenic for murine or hamster PrP (prion protein) that carry single-codon mutations associated with genetic human prion disease. Mouse or hamster PrP harbouring an FFI (D178N) or fCJD (E200K) mutation showed mild Proteinase K resistance when expressed in Drosophila Adult Drosophila transgenic for FFI or fCJD variants of mouse or hamster PrP displayed a spontaneous decline in locomotor ability that increased in severity as the flies aged. Significantly, this mutant PrP-mediated neurotoxic fly phenotype was transferable to recipient Drosophila that expressed the wild-type form of the transgene. Collectively, our novel data are indicative of the spontaneous formation of a PrP-dependent neurotoxic phenotype in FFI- or CJD-PrP transgenic Drosophila and show that inherited human prion disease can be modelled in this invertebrate host. © 2017 The Author(s).

  5. Inactivation of animal and human prions by hydrogen peroxide gas plasma sterilization.

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    Rogez-Kreuz, C; Yousfi, R; Soufflet, C; Quadrio, I; Yan, Z-X; Huyot, V; Aubenque, C; Destrez, P; Roth, K; Roberts, C; Favero, M; Clayette, P

    2009-08-01

    Prions cause various transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. They are highly resistant to the chemical and physical decontamination and sterilization procedures routinely used in healthcare facilities. The decontamination procedures recommended for the inactivation of prions are often incompatible with the materials used in medical devices. In this study, we evaluated the use of low-temperature hydrogen peroxide gas plasma sterilization systems and other instrument-processing procedures for inactivating human and animal prions. We provide new data concerning the efficacy of hydrogen peroxide against prions from in vitro or in vivo tests, focusing on the following: the efficiency of hydrogen peroxide sterilization and possible interactions with enzymatic or alkaline detergents, differences in the efficiency of this treatment against different prion strains, and the influence of contaminating lipids. We found that gaseous hydrogen peroxide decreased the infectivity of prions and/or the level of the protease-resistant form of the prion protein on different surface materials. However, the efficiency of this treatment depended strongly on the concentration of hydrogen peroxide and the delivery system used in medical devices, because these effects were more pronounced for the new generation of Sterrad technology. The Sterrad NX sterilizer is 100% efficient (0% transmission and no protease-resistant form of the prion protein signal detected on the surface of the material for the mouse-adapted bovine spongiform encephalopathy 6PB1 strain and a variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease strain). Thus, gaseous or vaporized hydrogen peroxide efficiently inactivates prions on the surfaces of medical devices.

  6. Transmission Properties of Human PrP 102L Prions Challenge the Relevance of Mouse Models of GSS.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Asante, Emmanuel A; Grimshaw, Andrew; Smidak, Michelle; Jakubcova, Tatiana; Tomlinson, Andrew; Jeelani, Asif; Hamdan, Shyma; Powell, Caroline; Joiner, Susan; Linehan, Jacqueline M; Brandner, Sebastian; Wadsworth, Jonathan D F; Collinge, John

    2015-07-01

    Inherited prion disease (IPD) is caused by autosomal-dominant pathogenic mutations in the human prion protein (PrP) gene (PRNP). A proline to leucine substitution at PrP residue 102 (P102L) is classically associated with Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker (GSS) disease but shows marked clinical and neuropathological variability within kindreds that may be caused by variable propagation of distinct prion strains generated from either PrP 102L or wild type PrP. To-date the transmission properties of prions propagated in P102L patients remain ill-defined. Multiple mouse models of GSS have focused on mutating the corresponding residue of murine PrP (P101L), however murine PrP 101L, a novel PrP primary structure, may not have the repertoire of pathogenic prion conformations necessary to accurately model the human disease. Here we describe the transmission properties of prions generated in human PrP 102L expressing transgenic mice that were generated after primary challenge with ex vivo human GSS P102L or classical CJD prions. We show that distinct strains of prions were generated in these mice dependent upon source of the inoculum (either GSS P102L or CJD brain) and have designated these GSS-102L and CJD-102L prions, respectively. GSS-102L prions have transmission properties distinct from all prion strains seen in sporadic and acquired human prion disease. Significantly, GSS-102L prions appear incapable of transmitting disease to conventional mice expressing wild type mouse PrP, which contrasts strikingly with the reported transmission properties of prions generated in GSS P102L-challenged mice expressing mouse PrP 101L. We conclude that future transgenic modeling of IPDs should focus exclusively on expression of mutant human PrP, as other approaches may generate novel experimental prion strains that are unrelated to human disease.

  7. Diagnostic and prognostic value of human prion detection in cerebrospinal fluid.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foutz, Aaron; Appleby, Brian S; Hamlin, Clive; Liu, Xiaoqin; Yang, Sheng; Cohen, Yvonne; Chen, Wei; Blevins, Janis; Fausett, Cameron; Wang, Han; Gambetti, Pierluigi; Zhang, Shulin; Hughson, Andrew; Tatsuoka, Curtis; Schonberger, Lawrence B; Cohen, Mark L; Caughey, Byron; Safar, Jiri G

    2017-01-01

    Several prion amplification systems have been proposed for detection of prions in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), most recently, the measurements of prion seeding activity with second-generation real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC). The objective of this study was to investigate the diagnostic performance of the RT-QuIC prion test in the broad phenotypic spectrum of prion diseases. We performed CSF RT-QuIC testing in 2,141 patients who had rapidly progressive neurological disorders, determined diagnostic sensitivity and specificity in 272 cases that were autopsied, and evaluated the impact of mutations and polymorphisms in the PRNP gene, and type 1 or type 2 human prions on diagnostic performance. The 98.5% diagnostic specificity and 92% sensitivity of CSF RT-QuIC in a blinded retrospective analysis matched the 100% specificity and 95% sensitivity of a blind prospective study. The CSF RT-QuIC differentiated 94% of cases of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) MM1 from the sCJD MM2 phenotype, and 80% of sCJD VV2 from sCJD VV1. The mixed prion type 1-2 and cases heterozygous for codon 129 generated intermediate CSF RT-QuIC patterns, whereas genetic prion diseases revealed distinct profiles for each PRNP gene mutation. The diagnostic performance of the improved CSF RT-QuIC is superior to surrogate marker tests for prion diseases such as 14-3-3 and tau proteins, and together with PRNP gene sequencing the test allows the major prion subtypes to be differentiated in vivo. This differentiation facilitates prediction of the clinicopathological phenotype and duration of the disease-two important considerations for envisioned therapeutic interventions. ANN NEUROL 2017;81:79-92. © 2016 American Neurological Association.

  8. Human prion diseases in The Netherlands : clinico-pathological, genetic and molecular aspects

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Jansen, C.

    2011-01-01

    Prion diseases, or transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), are invariably fatal neurodegenerative disorders that can be sporadic, inherited or acquired by infection. In humans, TSEs comprise three major groups showing a wide phenotypic heterogeneity: Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD),

  9. S. pombe placed on the prion map

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jacqueline Hayles

    2017-02-01

    Full Text Available Schizosaccharomyces pombe has been used extensively as a model organism, however it is only recently that the first prion in this organism, a copper transporter protein encoded by ctr4, has been conclusively demonstrated. Prions are found in a wide range of organisms and have been implicated in a number of human neurodegenerative diseases. Research into the biology of prions has been carried out mainly in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, however there are many questions still to be addressed. Now, with the identification of the Ctr4 prion in S. pombe, further work in the two yeasts and comparisons of prion biology in these organisms should lead to a greater understanding of prions and their role in disease.

  10. Characterization of Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Prions in Prion Protein-humanized Mice Carrying Distinct Codon 129 Genotypes*

    Science.gov (United States)

    Takeuchi, Atsuko; Kobayashi, Atsushi; Ironside, James W.; Mohri, Shirou; Kitamoto, Tetsuyuki

    2013-01-01

    To date, all clinical variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) patients are homozygous for methionine at polymorphic codon 129 (129M/M) of the prion protein (PrP) gene. However, the appearance of asymptomatic secondary vCJD infection in individuals with a PRNP codon 129 genotype other than M/M and transmission studies using animal models have raised the concern that all humans might be susceptible to vCJD prions, especially via secondary infection. To reevaluate this possibility and to analyze in detail the transmission properties of vCJD prions to transgenic animals carrying distinct codon 129 genotype, we performed intracerebral inoculation of vCJD prions to humanized knock-in mice carrying all possible codon 129 genotypes (129M/M, 129M/V, or 129V/V). All humanized knock-in mouse lines were susceptible to vCJD infection, although the attack rate gradually decreased from 129M/M to 129M/V and to 129V/V. The amount of PrP deposition including florid/amyloid plaques in the brain also gradually decreased from 129M/M to 129M/V and to 129V/V. The biochemical properties of protease-resistant abnormal PrP in the brain and transmissibility of these humanized mouse-passaged vCJD prions upon subpassage into knock-in mice expressing bovine PrP were not affected by the codon 129 genotype. These results indicate that individuals with the 129V/V genotype may be more susceptible to secondary vCJD infection than expected and may lack the neuropathological characteristics observed in vCJD patients with the 129M/M genotype. Besides the molecular typing of protease-resistant PrP in the brain, transmission studies using knock-in mice carrying bovine PrP may aid the differential diagnosis of secondary vCJD infection, especially in individuals with the 129V/V genotype. PMID:23792955

  11. Characterization of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease prions in prion protein-humanized mice carrying distinct codon 129 genotypes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Takeuchi, Atsuko; Kobayashi, Atsushi; Ironside, James W; Mohri, Shirou; Kitamoto, Tetsuyuki

    2013-07-26

    To date, all clinical variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) patients are homozygous for methionine at polymorphic codon 129 (129M/M) of the prion protein (PrP) gene. However, the appearance of asymptomatic secondary vCJD infection in individuals with a PRNP codon 129 genotype other than M/M and transmission studies using animal models have raised the concern that all humans might be susceptible to vCJD prions, especially via secondary infection. To reevaluate this possibility and to analyze in detail the transmission properties of vCJD prions to transgenic animals carrying distinct codon 129 genotype, we performed intracerebral inoculation of vCJD prions to humanized knock-in mice carrying all possible codon 129 genotypes (129M/M, 129M/V, or 129V/V). All humanized knock-in mouse lines were susceptible to vCJD infection, although the attack rate gradually decreased from 129M/M to 129M/V and to 129V/V. The amount of PrP deposition including florid/amyloid plaques in the brain also gradually decreased from 129M/M to 129M/V and to 129V/V. The biochemical properties of protease-resistant abnormal PrP in the brain and transmissibility of these humanized mouse-passaged vCJD prions upon subpassage into knock-in mice expressing bovine PrP were not affected by the codon 129 genotype. These results indicate that individuals with the 129V/V genotype may be more susceptible to secondary vCJD infection than expected and may lack the neuropathological characteristics observed in vCJD patients with the 129M/M genotype. Besides the molecular typing of protease-resistant PrP in the brain, transmission studies using knock-in mice carrying bovine PrP may aid the differential diagnosis of secondary vCJD infection, especially in individuals with the 129V/V genotype.

  12. Implications of prion adaptation and evolution paradigm for human neurodegenerative diseases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kabir, M Enamul; Safar, Jiri G

    2014-01-01

    There is a growing body of evidence indicating that number of human neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, fronto-temporal dementias, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, propagate in the brain via prion-like intercellular induction of protein misfolding. Prions cause lethal neurodegenerative diseases in humans, the most prevalent being sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD); they self-replicate and spread by converting the cellular form of prion protein (PrP(C)) to a misfolded pathogenic conformer (PrP(Sc)). The extensive phenotypic heterogeneity of human prion diseases is determined by polymorphisms in the prion protein gene, and by prion strain-specific conformation of PrP(Sc). Remarkably, even though informative nucleic acid is absent, prions may undergo rapid adaptation and evolution in cloned cells and upon crossing the species barrier. In the course of our investigation of this process, we isolated distinct populations of PrP(Sc) particles that frequently co-exist in sCJD. The human prion particles replicate independently and undergo competitive selection of those with lower initial conformational stability. Exposed to mutant substrate, the winning PrP(Sc) conformers are subject to further evolution by natural selection of the subpopulation with the highest replication rate due to the lowest stability. Thus, the evolution and adaptation of human prions is enabled by a dynamic collection of distinct populations of particles, whose evolution is governed by the selection of progressively less stable, faster replicating PrP(Sc) conformers. This fundamental biological mechanism may explain the drug resistance that some prions gained after exposure to compounds targeting PrP(Sc). Whether the phenotypic heterogeneity of other neurodegenerative diseases caused by protein misfolding is determined by the spectrum of misfolded conformers (strains) remains to be established. However, the prospect that these conformers may evolve and

  13. Emergence of two prion subtypes in ovine PrP transgenic mice infected with human MM2-cortical Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease prions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chapuis, Jérôme; Moudjou, Mohammed; Reine, Fabienne; Herzog, Laetitia; Jaumain, Emilie; Chapuis, Céline; Quadrio, Isabelle; Boulliat, Jacques; Perret-Liaudet, Armand; Dron, Michel; Laude, Hubert; Rezaei, Human; Béringue, Vincent

    2016-02-05

    Mammalian prions are proteinaceous pathogens responsible for a broad range of fatal neurodegenerative diseases in humans and animals. These diseases can occur spontaneously, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans, or be acquired or inherited. Prions are primarily formed of macromolecular assemblies of the disease-associated prion protein PrP(Sc), a misfolded isoform of the host-encoded prion protein PrP(C). Within defined host-species, prions can exist as conformational variants or strains. Based on both the M/V polymorphism at codon 129 of PrP and the electrophoretic signature of PrP(Sc) in the brain, sporadic CJD is classified in different subtypes, which may encode different strains. A transmission barrier, the mechanism of which remains unknown, limits prion cross-species propagation. To adapt to the new host, prions have the capacity to 'mutate' conformationally, leading to the emergence of a variant with new biological properties. Here, we transmitted experimentally one rare subtype of human CJD, designated cortical MM2 (129 MM with type 2 PrP(Sc)), to transgenic mice overexpressing either human or the VRQ allele of ovine PrP(C). In marked contrast with the reported absence of transmission to knock-in mice expressing physiological levels of human PrP, this subtype transmitted faithfully to mice overexpressing human PrP, and exhibited unique strain features. Onto the ovine PrP sequence, the cortical MM2 subtype abruptly evolved on second passage, thereby allowing emergence of a pair of strain variants with distinct PrP(Sc) biochemical characteristics and differing tropism for the central and lymphoid tissues. These two strain components exhibited remarkably distinct replicative properties in cell-free amplification assay, allowing the 'physical' cloning of the minor, lymphotropic component, and subsequent isolation in ovine PrP mice and RK13 cells. Here, we provide in-depth assessment of the transmissibility and evolution of one rare subtype of

  14. Insights into mechanisms of transmission and pathogenesis from transgenic mouse models of prion diseases

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moreno, Julie A.; Telling, Glenn C.

    2018-01-01

    Prions represent a new paradigm of protein-mediated information transfer. In the case of mammals, prions are the cause of fatal, transmissible neurodegenerative diseases, sometimes referred to as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE’s), which frequently occur as epidemics. An increasing body of evidence indicates that the canonical mechanism of conformational corruption of cellular prion protein (PrPC) by the pathogenic isoform (PrPSc) that is the basis of prion formation in TSE’s, is common to a spectrum of proteins associated with various additional human neurodegenerative disorders, including the more common Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. The peerless infectious properties of TSE prions, and the unparalleled tools for their study, therefore enable elucidation of mechanisms of template-mediated conformational propagation that are generally applicable to these related disease states. Many unresolved issues remain including the exact molecular nature of the prion, the detailed cellular and molecular mechanisms of prion propagation, and the means by which prion diseases can be both genetic and infectious. In addition, we know little about the mechanism by which neurons degenerate during prion diseases. Tied to this, the physiological role of the normal form of the prion protein remains unclear and it is uncertain whether or not loss of this function contributes to prion pathogenesis. The factors governing the transmission of prions between species remain unclear, in particular the means by which prion strains and PrP primary structure interact to affect inter-species prion transmission. Despite all these unknowns, advances in our understanding of prions have occurred because of their transmissibility to experimental animals and the development of transgenic (Tg) mouse models has done much to further our understanding about various aspects of prion biology. In this review we will focus on advances in our understanding of prion biology that

  15. Prion pathogenesis and secondary lymphoid organs (SLO)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mabbott, Neil A.

    2012-01-01

    Prion diseases are subacute neurodegenerative diseases that affect humans and a range of domestic and free-ranging animal species. These diseases are characterized by the accumulation of PrPSc, an abnormally folded isoform of the cellular prion protein (PrPC), in affected tissues. The pathology during prion disease appears to occur almost exclusively within the central nervous system. The extensive neurodegeneration which occurs ultimately leads to the death of the host. An intriguing feature of the prion diseases, when compared with other protein-misfolding diseases, is their transmissibility. Following peripheral exposure, some prion diseases accumulate to high levels within lymphoid tissues. The replication of prions within lymphoid tissue has been shown to be important for the efficient spread of disease to the brain. This article describes recent progress in our understanding of the cellular mechanisms that influence the propagation of prions from peripheral sites of exposure (such as the lumen of the intestine) to the brain. A thorough understanding of these events will lead to the identification of important targets for therapeutic intervention, or alternatively, reveal additional processes that influence disease susceptibility to peripherally-acquired prion diseases. PMID:22895090

  16. A comparative molecular dynamics study on thermostability of human and chicken prion proteins

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ji, Hong-Fang; Zhang, Hong-Yu

    2007-01-01

    To compare the thermostabilities of human and chicken normal cellular prion proteins (HuPrP C and CkPrP C ), molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were performed for both proteins at an ensemble level (10 parallel simulations at 400 K and 5 parallel simulations at 300 K as a control). It is found that the thermostability of HuPrP C is comparable with that of CkPrP C , which implicates that the non-occurrence of prion diseases in non-mammals cannot be completely attributed to the thermodynamic properties of non-mammalian PrP C

  17. Generation of human scFvs antibodies recognizing a prion protein epitope expressed on the surface of human lymphoblastoid cells

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Imperiale Valentina

    2007-07-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background A hallmark of prion disease is the transformation of normal cellular prion protein (PrPc into an infectious disease-associated isoform, (PrPsc. Anti-prion protein monoclonal antibodies are invaluable for structure-function studies of PrP molecules. Furthermore recent in vitro and in vivo studies indicate that anti-PrP monoclonal antibodies can prevent the incorporation of PrPc into propagating prions. In the present article, we show two new human phage antibodies, isolated on recombinant hamster prion protein (rHaPrP. Results We adopted an antibody phage display strategy to isolate specific human antibodies directed towards rHaPrP which has been used as a bait for panning the synthetic ETH-2 antibody phage library. Two phage antibodies clones named MA3.B4 and MA3.G3 were isolated and characterized under genetic biochemical and immunocytochemical aspects. The clones were found to recognize the prion protein in ELISA studies. In flow-cytometry studies, these human single chain Fragment variable (scFv phage-antibodies show a well defined pattern of reactivity on human lymphoblastoid and myeloid cells. Conclusion Sequence analysis of the gene encoding for the antibody fragments and antigen recognition patterns determined by flow-cytometry analysis indicate that the isolated scFvs recognize novel epitopes in the PrPc molecule. These new anti PrPc human antibodies are unique reagents for prion protein detection and may represent a biologic platform to develop new reagents to treat PrPsc associated disease.

  18. Porcine prion protein amyloid.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hammarström, Per; Nyström, Sofie

    2015-01-01

    Mammalian prions are composed of misfolded aggregated prion protein (PrP) with amyloid-like features. Prions are zoonotic disease agents that infect a wide variety of mammalian species including humans. Mammals and by-products thereof which are frequently encountered in daily life are most important for human health. It is established that bovine prions (BSE) can infect humans while there is no such evidence for any other prion susceptible species in the human food chain (sheep, goat, elk, deer) and largely prion resistant species (pig) or susceptible and resistant pets (cat and dogs, respectively). PrPs from these species have been characterized using biochemistry, biophysics and neurobiology. Recently we studied PrPs from several mammals in vitro and found evidence for generic amyloidogenicity as well as cross-seeding fibril formation activity of all PrPs on the human PrP sequence regardless if the original species was resistant or susceptible to prion disease. Porcine PrP amyloidogenicity was among the studied. Experimentally inoculated pigs as well as transgenic mouse lines overexpressing porcine PrP have, in the past, been used to investigate the possibility of prion transmission in pigs. The pig is a species with extraordinarily wide use within human daily life with over a billion pigs harvested for human consumption each year. Here we discuss the possibility that the largely prion disease resistant pig can be a clinically silent carrier of replicating prions.

  19. Small protease sensitive oligomers of PrPSc in distinct human prions determine conversion rate of PrP(C.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chae Kim

    Full Text Available The mammalian prions replicate by converting cellular prion protein (PrP(C into pathogenic conformational isoform (PrP(Sc. Variations in prions, which cause different disease phenotypes, are referred to as strains. The mechanism of high-fidelity replication of prion strains in the absence of nucleic acid remains unsolved. We investigated the impact of different conformational characteristics of PrP(Sc on conversion of PrP(C in vitro using PrP(Sc seeds from the most frequent human prion disease worldwide, the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD. The conversion potency of a broad spectrum of distinct sCJD prions was governed by the level, conformation, and stability of small oligomers of the protease-sensitive (s PrP(Sc. The smallest most potent prions present in sCJD brains were composed only of∼20 monomers of PrP(Sc. The tight correlation between conversion potency of small oligomers of human sPrP(Sc observed in vitro and duration of the disease suggests that sPrP(Sc conformers are an important determinant of prion strain characteristics that control the progression rate of the disease.

  20. Prion pathogenesis and secondary lymphoid organs (SLO): tracking the SLO spread of prions to the brain.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mabbott, Neil A

    2012-01-01

    Prion diseases are subacute neurodegenerative diseases that affect humans and a range of domestic and free-ranging animal species. These diseases are characterized by the accumulation of PrP (Sc), an abnormally folded isoform of the cellular prion protein (PrP (C)), in affected tissues. The pathology during prion disease appears to occur almost exclusively within the central nervous system. The extensive neurodegeneration which occurs ultimately leads to the death of the host. An intriguing feature of the prion diseases, when compared with other protein-misfolding diseases, is their transmissibility. Following peripheral exposure, some prion diseases accumulate to high levels within lymphoid tissues. The replication of prions within lymphoid tissue has been shown to be important for the efficient spread of disease to the brain. This article describes recent progress in our understanding of the cellular mechanisms that influence the propagation of prions from peripheral sites of exposure (such as the lumen of the intestine) to the brain. A thorough understanding of these events will lead to the identification of important targets for therapeutic intervention, or alternatively, reveal additional processes that influence disease susceptibility to peripherally-acquired prion diseases.

  1. Prion Diseases

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... with facebook share with twitter share with linkedin Prion Diseases Prion diseases are a related group of ... deer and elk. Why Is the Study of Prion Diseases a Priority for NIAID? Much about TSE ...

  2. Proteomics analyses for the global proteins in the brain tissues of different human prion diseases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shi, Qi; Chen, Li-Na; Zhang, Bao-Yun; Xiao, Kang; Zhou, Wei; Chen, Cao; Zhang, Xiao-Mei; Tian, Chan; Gao, Chen; Wang, Jing; Han, Jun; Dong, Xiao-Ping

    2015-04-01

    Proteomics changes of brain tissues have been described in different neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. However, the brain proteomics of human prion disease remains less understood. In the study, the proteomics patterns of cortex and cerebellum of brain tissues of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, fatal familial insomnia, and G114V genetic CJD were analyzed with isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation combined with multidimensional liquid chromatography and MS analysis, with the brains from three normal individuals as controls. Global protein profiling, significant pathway, and functional categories were analyzed. In total, 2287 proteins were identified with quantitative information both in cortex and cerebellum regions. Cerebellum tissues appeared to contain more up- and down-regulated proteins (727 proteins) than cortex regions (312 proteins) of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, fatal familial insomnia, and G114V genetic CJD. Viral myocarditis, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, lysosome, oxidative phosphorylation, protein export, and drug metabolism-cytochrome P450 were the most commonly affected pathways of the three kinds of diseases. Almost coincident biological functions were identified in the brain tissues of the three diseases. In all, data here demonstrate that the brain tissues of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, fatal familial insomnia, and G114V genetic CJD have obvious proteomics changes at their terminal stages, which show the similarities not only among human prion diseases but also with other neurodegeneration diseases. This is the first study to provide a reference proteome map for human prion diseases and will be helpful for future studies focused on potential biomarkers for the diagnosis and therapy of human prion diseases. © 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

  3. Evidence for varied aetiologies regulating the transmission of prion disease: implications for understanding the heritable basis of prion incubation times.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Conrad O Iyegbe

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs are a group of progressive fatal neurodegenerative disorders, triggered by abnormal folding of the endogenous prion protein molecule. The encoding gene is a major biological factor influencing the length of the asymptomatic period after infection. It remains unclear the extent to which the variation between quantitative trait loci (QTLs reported in mouse models is due to methodological differences between approaches or genuine differences between traits. With this in mind, our approach to identifying genetic factors has sought to extend the linkage mapping approach traditionally applied, to a series of additional traits, while minimising methodological variability between them. Our approach allows estimations of heritability to be derived, as well as predictions to be made about possible existence of genetic overlap between the various traits.Our data indicate a surprising degree of heritability (up to 60%. Correlations between traits are also identified. A series of QTLs on chromosomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 11 and 18 accompany our heritability estimates. However, only a locus on chromosome 11 has a general effect across all 4 models explored.We have achieved some success in detecting novel and pre-existing QTLs associated with incubation time. However, aside from the general effects described, the model-specific nature of the broader host genetic architecture has also been brought into clearer focus. This suggests that genetic overlap can only partially account for the general heritability of incubation time when factors, such as the nature of the TSE agent and the route of administration are considered. This point is highly relevant to vCJD (a potential threat to public health where the route of primary importance is oral, while the QTLs being sought derive exclusively from studies of the ic route. Our results highlight the limitations of a single-model approach to QTL-mapping of TSEs.

  4. Rapid and Quantitative Assay of Amyloid-Seeding Activity in Human Brains Affected with Prion Diseases.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hanae Takatsuki

    Full Text Available The infectious agents of the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies are composed of amyloidogenic prion protein, PrPSc. Real-time quaking-induced conversion can amplify very small amounts of PrPSc seeds in tissues/body fluids of patients or animals. Using this in vitro PrP-amyloid amplification assay, we quantitated the seeding activity of affected human brains. End-point assay using serially diluted brain homogenates of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease patients demonstrated that 50% seeding dose (SD50 is reached approximately 10(10/g brain (values varies 10(8.79-10.63/g. A genetic case (GSS-P102L yielded a similar level of seeding activity in an autopsy brain sample. The range of PrPSc concentrations in the samples, determined by dot-blot assay, was 0.6-5.4 μg/g brain; therefore, we estimated that 1 SD50 unit was equivalent to 0.06-0.27 fg of PrPSc. The SD50 values of the affected brains dropped more than three orders of magnitude after autoclaving at 121°C. This new method for quantitation of human prion activity provides a new way to reduce the risk of iatrogenic prion transmission.

  5. Molecular architecture of human prion protein amyloid: a parallel, in-register beta-structure.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cobb, Nathan J; Sönnichsen, Frank D; McHaourab, Hassane; Surewicz, Witold K

    2007-11-27

    Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) represent a group of fatal neurodegenerative diseases that are associated with conformational conversion of the normally monomeric and alpha-helical prion protein, PrP(C), to the beta-sheet-rich PrP(Sc). This latter conformer is believed to constitute the main component of the infectious TSE agent. In contrast to high-resolution data for the PrP(C) monomer, structures of the pathogenic PrP(Sc) or synthetic PrP(Sc)-like aggregates remain elusive. Here we have used site-directed spin labeling and EPR spectroscopy to probe the molecular architecture of the recombinant PrP amyloid, a misfolded form recently reported to induce transmissible disease in mice overexpressing an N-terminally truncated form of PrP(C). Our data show that, in contrast to earlier, largely theoretical models, the con formational conversion of PrP(C) involves major refolding of the C-terminal alpha-helical region. The core of the amyloid maps to C-terminal residues from approximately 160-220, and these residues form single-molecule layers that stack on top of one another with parallel, in-register alignment of beta-strands. This structural insight has important implications for understanding the molecular basis of prion propagation, as well as hereditary prion diseases, most of which are associated with point mutations in the region found to undergo a refolding to beta-structure.

  6. Immunology of Prion Protein and Prions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mabbott, Neil A

    2017-01-01

    Many natural prion diseases are acquired peripherally, such as following the oral consumption of contaminated food or pasture. After peripheral exposure many prion isolates initially accumulate to high levels within the host's secondary lymphoid tissues. The replication of prions within these tissues is essential for their efficient spread to the brain where they ultimately cause neurodegeneration. This chapter describes our current understanding of the critical tissues, cells, and molecules which the prions exploit to mediate their efficient propagation from the site of exposure (such as the intestine) to the brain. Interactions between the immune system and prions are not only restricted to the secondary lymphoid tissues. Therefore, an account of how the activation status of the microglial in the brain can also influence progression of prion disease pathogenesis is provided. Prion disease susceptibility may also be influenced by additional factors such as chronic inflammation, coinfection with other pathogens, and aging. Finally, the potential for immunotherapy to provide a means of safe and effective prophylactic or therapeutic intervention in these currently untreatable diseases is considered. © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  7. Antimicrobial Activity of Human Prion Protein Is Mediated by Its N-Terminal Region

    OpenAIRE

    Pasupuleti, Mukesh; Roupe, Markus; Rydeng?rd, Victoria; Surewicz, Krystyna; Surewicz, Witold K.; Chalupka, Anna; Malmsten, Martin; S?rensen, Ole E.; Schmidtchen, Artur

    2009-01-01

    BACKGROUND: Cellular prion-related protein (PrP(c)) is a cell-surface protein that is ubiquitously expressed in the human body. The multifunctionality of PrP(c), and presence of an exposed cationic and heparin-binding N-terminus, a feature characterizing many antimicrobial peptides, made us hypothesize that PrP(c) could exert antimicrobial activity. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Intact recombinant PrP exerted antibacterial and antifungal effects at normal and low pH. Studies employing r...

  8. How do PrPSc Prions Spread between Host Species, and within Hosts?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Neil A. Mabbott

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available Prion diseases are sub-acute neurodegenerative diseases that affect humans and some domestic and free-ranging animals. Infectious prion agents are considered to comprise solely of abnormally folded isoforms of the cellular prion protein known as PrPSc. Pathology during prion disease is restricted to the central nervous system where it causes extensive neurodegeneration and ultimately leads to the death of the host. The first half of this review provides a thorough account of our understanding of the various ways in which PrPSc prions may spread between individuals within a population, both horizontally and vertically. Many natural prion diseases are acquired peripherally, such as by oral exposure, lesions to skin or mucous membranes, and possibly also via the nasal cavity. Following peripheral exposure, some prions accumulate to high levels within the secondary lymphoid organs as they make their journey from the site of infection to the brain, a process termed neuroinvasion. The replication of PrPSc prions within secondary lymphoid organs is important for their efficient spread to the brain. The second half of this review describes the key tissues, cells and molecules which are involved in the propagation of PrPSc prions from peripheral sites of exposure (such as the lumen of the intestine to the brain. This section also considers how additional factors such as inflammation and aging might influence prion disease susceptibility.

  9. Region-specific protein misfolding cyclic amplification reproduces brain tropism of prion strains.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Privat, Nicolas; Levavasseur, Etienne; Yildirim, Serfildan; Hannaoui, Samia; Brandel, Jean-Philippe; Laplanche, Jean-Louis; Béringue, Vincent; Seilhean, Danielle; Haïk, Stéphane

    2017-10-06

    Human prion diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease are transmissible brain proteinopathies, characterized by the accumulation of a misfolded isoform of the host cellular prion protein (PrP) in the brain. According to the prion model, prions are defined as proteinaceous infectious particles composed solely of this abnormal isoform of PrP (PrP Sc ). Even in the absence of genetic material, various prion strains can be propagated in experimental models. They can be distinguished by the pattern of disease they produce and especially by the localization of PrP Sc deposits within the brain and the spongiform lesions they induce. The mechanisms involved in this strain-specific targeting of distinct brain regions still are a fundamental, unresolved question in prion research. To address this question, we exploited a prion conversion in vitro assay, protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA), by using experimental scrapie and human prion strains as seeds and specific brain regions from mice and humans as substrates. We show here that region-specific PMCA in part reproduces the specific brain targeting observed in experimental, acquired, and sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob diseases. Furthermore, we provide evidence that, in addition to cellular prion protein, other region- and species-specific molecular factors influence the strain-dependent prion conversion process. This important step toward understanding prion strain propagation in the human brain may impact research on the molecular factors involved in protein misfolding and the development of ultrasensitive methods for diagnosing prion disease. © 2017 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

  10. Prion protein in milk.

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    Nicola Franscini

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Prions are known to cause transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE after accumulation in the central nervous system. There is increasing evidence that prions are also present in body fluids and that prion infection by blood transmission is possible. The low concentration of the proteinaceous agent in body fluids and its long incubation time complicate epidemiologic analysis and estimation of spreading and thus the risk of human infection. This situation is particularly unsatisfactory for food and pharmaceutical industries, given the lack of sensitive tools for monitoring the infectious agent. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We have developed an adsorption matrix, Alicon PrioTrap, which binds with high affinity and specificity to prion proteins. Thus we were able to identify prion protein (PrP(C--the precursor of prions (PrP(Sc--in milk from humans, cows, sheep, and goats. The absolute amount of PrP(C differs between the species (from microg/l range in sheep to ng/l range in human milk. PrP(C is also found in homogenised and pasteurised off-the-shelf milk, and even ultrahigh temperature treatment only partially diminishes endogenous PrP(C concentration. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: In view of a recent study showing evidence of prion replication occurring in the mammary gland of scrapie infected sheep suffering from mastitis, the appearance of PrP(C in milk implies the possibility that milk of TSE-infected animals serves as source for PrP(Sc.

  11. How does domain replacement affect fibril formation of the rabbit/human prion proteins.

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    Xu Yan

    Full Text Available It is known that in vivo human prion protein (PrP have the tendency to form fibril deposits and are associated with infectious fatal prion diseases, while the rabbit PrP does not readily form fibrils and is unlikely to cause prion diseases. Although we have previously demonstrated that amyloid fibrils formed by the rabbit PrP and the human PrP have different secondary structures and macromolecular crowding has different effects on fibril formation of the rabbit/human PrPs, we do not know which domains of PrPs cause such differences. In this study, we have constructed two PrP chimeras, rabbit chimera and human chimera, and investigated how domain replacement affects fibril formation of the rabbit/human PrPs.As revealed by thioflavin T binding assays and Sarkosyl-soluble SDS-PAGE, the presence of a strong crowding agent dramatically promotes fibril formation of both chimeras. As evidenced by circular dichroism, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and proteinase K digestion assays, amyloid fibrils formed by human chimera have secondary structures and proteinase K-resistant features similar to those formed by the human PrP. However, amyloid fibrils formed by rabbit chimera have proteinase K-resistant features and secondary structures in crowded physiological environments different from those formed by the rabbit PrP, and secondary structures in dilute solutions similar to the rabbit PrP. The results from transmission electron microscopy show that macromolecular crowding caused human chimera but not rabbit chimera to form short fibrils and non-fibrillar particles.We demonstrate for the first time that the domains beyond PrP-H2H3 (β-strand 1, α-helix 1, and β-strand 2 have a remarkable effect on fibrillization of the rabbit PrP but almost no effect on the human PrP. Our findings can help to explain why amyloid fibrils formed by the rabbit PrP and the human PrP have different secondary structures and why macromolecular crowding has different

  12. Co-existence of Distinct Prion Types Enables Conformational Evolution of Human PrPSc by Competitive Selection*

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haldiman, Tracy; Kim, Chae; Cohen, Yvonne; Chen, Wei; Blevins, Janis; Qing, Liuting; Cohen, Mark L.; Langeveld, Jan; Telling, Glenn C.; Kong, Qingzhong; Safar, Jiri G.

    2013-01-01

    The unique phenotypic characteristics of mammalian prions are thought to be encoded in the conformation of pathogenic prion proteins (PrPSc). The molecular mechanism responsible for the adaptation, mutation, and evolution of prions observed in cloned cells and upon crossing the species barrier remains unsolved. Using biophysical techniques and conformation-dependent immunoassays in tandem, we isolated two distinct populations of PrPSc particles with different conformational stabilities and aggregate sizes, which frequently co-exist in the most common human prion disease, sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The protein misfolding cyclic amplification replicates each of the PrPSc particle types independently and leads to the competitive selection of those with lower initial conformational stability. In serial propagation with a nonglycosylated mutant PrPC substrate, the dominant PrPSc conformers are subject to further evolution by natural selection of the subpopulation with the highest replication rate due to its lowest stability. Cumulatively, the data show that sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease PrPSc is not a single conformational entity but a dynamic collection of two distinct populations of particles. This implies the co-existence of different prions, whose adaptation and evolution are governed by the selection of progressively less stable, faster replicating PrPSc conformers. PMID:23974118

  13. The human prion diseases. A review with special emphasis on new variant CJD and comments on surveillance.

    LENUS (Irish Health Repository)

    Keohane, C

    2012-02-03

    The transmissible spongiform encephalopathies or prion diseases represent a new group of diseases with unique clinical and neuropathological features, the transmission of which is both genetic and infectious. The responsible agent is unconventional and appears to be largely composed of a glycoprotein, the prion protein PrP. This is normally present on different cells. In prion diseases, it becomes converted to the pathogenic form PrPres which is resistant to proteinase and accumulates within the brain and this process is accompanied by the development of spongiform change, gliosis and neuronal loss. The human prion diseases include Kuru a progressive cerebellar degeneration with late dementia affecting Fore tribes in New-Guinea, now almost extinct, regarded as being related to cannibalism. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is the more frequent human prion disease. Its incidence is approximately one case per million per year. Four variants are now recognized: sporadic, familial, iatrogenic and the new variant. The latter represents a distinct clinico-pathological entity. It is now widely accepted that it is due to the same agent responsible for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in cattle. Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker disease is a very rare inherited disorder due to a number of different mutations in the PRP gene, characterized by abundant deposits of plaque PrPres in the cerebral grey matter. Fatal familial insomnia is another inherited disorder due to a mutation at codon 178 of the PRP gene associated with methionine on codon 129 of the mutant allele. The main neuropathological change is neuronal loss in the thalamus with little or no spongiosis and usually no PrPres deposition. Following the emergence of new variant CJD in 1996, surveillance of all forms of prion diseases has been now been actively introduced in many European nations in order to determine the true incidence and geographic distribution of these rare disorders in humans.

  14. A Fluorescent Oligothiophene-Bis-Triazine ligand interacts with PrP fibrils and detects SDS-resistant oligomers in human prion diseases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Imberdis, Thibaut; Ayrolles-Torro, Adeline; Duarte Rodrigues, Alysson; Torrent, Joan; Alvarez-Martinez, Maria Teresa; Kovacs, Gabor G; Verdier, Jean-Michel; Robitzer, Mike; Perrier, Véronique

    2016-01-26

    Prion diseases are characterized by the accumulation in the central nervous system of an abnormally folded isoform of the prion protein, named PrP(Sc). Aggregation of PrP(Sc) into oligomers and fibrils is critically involved in the pathogenesis of prion diseases. Oligomers are supposed to be the key neurotoxic agents in prion disease, so modulation of prion aggregation pathways with small molecules can be a valuable strategy for studying prion pathogenicity and for developing new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. We previously identified thienyl pyrimidine compounds that induce SDS-resistant PrP(Sc) (rSDS-PrP(Sc)) oligomers in prion-infected samples. Due to the low effective doses of the thienyl pyrimidine hits, we synthesized a quaterthiophene-bis-triazine compound, called MR100 to better evaluate their diagnostic and therapeutic potentials. This molecule exhibits a powerful activity inducing rSDS-PrP(Sc) oligomers at nanomolar concentrations in prion-infected cells. Fluorescence interaction studies of MR100 with mouse PrP fibrils showed substantial modification of the spectrum, and the interaction was confirmed in vitro by production of rSDS-oligomer species upon incubation of MR100 with fibrils in SDS-PAGE gel. We further explored whether MR100 compound has a potential to be used in the diagnosis of prion diseases. Our results showed that: (i) MR100 can detect rSDS-oligomers in prion-infected brain homogenates of various species, including human samples from CJD patients; (ii) A protocol, called "Rapid Centrifugation Assay" (RCA), was developed based on MR100 property of inducing rSDS-PrP(Sc) oligomers only in prion-infected samples, and avoiding the protease digestion step. RCA allows the detection of both PK-sensitive and PK-resistant PrP(Sc) species in rodents samples but also from patients with different CJD forms (sporadic and new variant); (iii) A correlation could be established between the amount of rSDS-PrP(Sc) oligomers revealed by MR100 and the

  15. Prions, prion-like prionoids, and neurodegenerative disordersVacancy

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    Ashok Verma

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Prion diseases or transmissible spongiform encephalopathies are fatal neurodegenerative diseases characterized by the aggregation and deposition of the misfolded prion protein in the brain. α-synuclein (α-syn-associated multiple system atrophy has been recently shown to be caused by a bona fide α-syn prion strain. Several other misfolded native proteins such as β-amyloid, tau and TDP-43 share some aspects of prions although none of them is shown to be transmissible in nature or in experimental animals. However, these prion-like “prionoids” are causal to a variety of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The remarkable recent discovery of at least two new α-syn prion strains and their transmissibility in transgenic mice and in vitro cell models raises a distinct question as to whether some specific strain of other prionoids could have the capability of disease transmission in a manner similar to prions. In this overview, we briefly describe human and other mammalian prion diseases and comment on certain similarities between prion and prionoid and the possibility of prion-like transmissibility of some prionoid strains.

  16. UK Iatrogenic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: investigating human prion transmission across genotypic barriers using human tissue-based and molecular approaches.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ritchie, Diane L; Barria, Marcelo A; Peden, Alexander H; Yull, Helen M; Kirkpatrick, James; Adlard, Peter; Ironside, James W; Head, Mark W

    2017-04-01

    Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is the prototypic human prion disease that occurs most commonly in sporadic and genetic forms, but it is also transmissible and can be acquired through medical procedures, resulting in iatrogenic CJD (iCJD). The largest numbers of iCJD cases that have occurred worldwide have resulted from contaminated cadaveric pituitary-derived human growth hormone (hGH) and its use to treat primary and secondary growth hormone deficiency. We report a comprehensive, tissue-based and molecular genetic analysis of the largest series of UK hGH-iCJD cases reported to date, including in vitro kinetic molecular modelling of genotypic factors influencing prion transmission. The results show the interplay of prion strain and host genotype in governing the molecular, pathological and temporal characteristics of the UK hGH-iCJD epidemic and provide insights into the adaptive mechanisms involved when prions cross genotypic barriers. We conclude that all of the available evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that the UK hGH-iCJD epidemic resulted from transmission of the V2 human prion strain, which is associated with the second most common form of sporadic CJD.

  17. Early detection of abnormal prion protein in genetic human prion diseases now possible using real-time QUIC assay.

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    Kazunori Sano

    Full Text Available INTRODUCTION: The definitive diagnosis of genetic prion diseases (gPrD requires pathological confirmation. To date, diagnosis has relied upon the finding of the biomarkers 14-3-3 protein and total tau (t-tau protein in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF, but many researchers have reported that these markers are not sufficiently elevated in gPrD, especially in Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker syndrome (GSS. We recently developed a new in vitro amplification technology, designated "real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QUIC", to detect the abnormal form of prion protein in CSF from sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD patients. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the presence of biomarkers and evaluate RT-QUIC assay in patients with gPrD, as the utility of RT-QUIC as a diagnostic tool in gPrD has yet to be determined. METHOD/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: 56 CSF samples were obtained from gPrD patients, including 20 cases of GSS with P102L mutation, 12 cases of fatal familial insomnia (FFI; D178N, and 24 cases of genetic CJD (gCJD, comprising 22 cases with E200K mutation and 2 with V203I mutation. We subjected all CSF samples to RT-QUIC assay, analyzed 14-3-3 protein by Western blotting, and measured t-tau protein using an ELISA kit. The detection sensitivities of RT-QUIC were as follows: GSS (78%, FFI (100%, gCJD E200K (87%, and gCJD V203I (100%. On the other hand the detection sensitivities of biomarkers were considerably lower: GSS (11%, FFI (0%, gCJD E200K (73%, and gCJD V203I (67%. Thus, RT-QUIC had a much higher detection sensitivity compared with testing for biomarkers, especially in patients with GSS and FFI. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: RT-QUIC assay is more sensitive than testing for biomarkers in gPrD patients. RT-QUIC method would thus be useful as a diagnostic tool when the patient or the patient's family does not agree to genetic testing, or to confirm the diagnosis in the presence of a positive result for genetic testing.

  18. The Gut-Associated Lymphoid Tissues in the Small Intestine, Not the Large Intestine, Play a Major Role in Oral Prion Disease Pathogenesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Donaldson, David S.; Else, Kathryn J.

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Prion diseases are infectious neurodegenerative disorders characterized by accumulations of abnormally folded cellular prion protein in affected tissues. Many natural prion diseases are acquired orally, and following exposure, the early replication of some prion isolates upon follicular dendritic cells (FDC) within gut-associated lymphoid tissues (GALT) is important for the efficient spread of disease to the brain (neuroinvasion). Prion detection within large intestinal GALT biopsy specimens has been used to estimate human and animal disease prevalence. However, the relative contributions of the small and large intestinal GALT to oral prion pathogenesis were unknown. To address this issue, we created mice that specifically lacked FDC-containing GALT only in the small intestine. Our data show that oral prion disease susceptibility was dramatically reduced in mice lacking small intestinal GALT. Although these mice had FDC-containing GALT throughout their large intestines, these tissues were not early sites of prion accumulation or neuroinvasion. We also determined whether pathology specifically within the large intestine might influence prion pathogenesis. Congruent infection with the nematode parasite Trichuris muris in the large intestine around the time of oral prion exposure did not affect disease pathogenesis. Together, these data demonstrate that the small intestinal GALT are the major early sites of prion accumulation and neuroinvasion after oral exposure. This has important implications for our understanding of the factors that influence the risk of infection and the preclinical diagnosis of disease. IMPORTANCE Many natural prion diseases are acquired orally. After exposure, the accumulation of some prion diseases in the gut-associated lymphoid tissues (GALT) is important for efficient spread of disease to the brain. However, the relative contributions of GALT in the small and large intestines to oral prion pathogenesis were unknown. We show that the

  19. The Gut-Associated Lymphoid Tissues in the Small Intestine, Not the Large Intestine, Play a Major Role in Oral Prion Disease Pathogenesis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Donaldson, David S; Else, Kathryn J; Mabbott, Neil A

    2015-09-01

    Prion diseases are infectious neurodegenerative disorders characterized by accumulations of abnormally folded cellular prion protein in affected tissues. Many natural prion diseases are acquired orally, and following exposure, the early replication of some prion isolates upon follicular dendritic cells (FDC) within gut-associated lymphoid tissues (GALT) is important for the efficient spread of disease to the brain (neuroinvasion). Prion detection within large intestinal GALT biopsy specimens has been used to estimate human and animal disease prevalence. However, the relative contributions of the small and large intestinal GALT to oral prion pathogenesis were unknown. To address this issue, we created mice that specifically lacked FDC-containing GALT only in the small intestine. Our data show that oral prion disease susceptibility was dramatically reduced in mice lacking small intestinal GALT. Although these mice had FDC-containing GALT throughout their large intestines, these tissues were not early sites of prion accumulation or neuroinvasion. We also determined whether pathology specifically within the large intestine might influence prion pathogenesis. Congruent infection with the nematode parasite Trichuris muris in the large intestine around the time of oral prion exposure did not affect disease pathogenesis. Together, these data demonstrate that the small intestinal GALT are the major early sites of prion accumulation and neuroinvasion after oral exposure. This has important implications for our understanding of the factors that influence the risk of infection and the preclinical diagnosis of disease. Many natural prion diseases are acquired orally. After exposure, the accumulation of some prion diseases in the gut-associated lymphoid tissues (GALT) is important for efficient spread of disease to the brain. However, the relative contributions of GALT in the small and large intestines to oral prion pathogenesis were unknown. We show that the small intestinal

  20. Activation of human natural killer cells by the soluble form of cellular prion protein

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    Seong, Yeon-Jae [Laboratory of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering, KAIST, Daejeon (Korea, Republic of); Hafis Clinic, Seoul (Korea, Republic of); Sung, Pil Soo; Jang, Young-Soon; Choi, Young Joon [Laboratory of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering, KAIST, Daejeon (Korea, Republic of); Park, Bum-Chan [Aging Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Daejeon (Korea, Republic of); Park, Su-Hyung [Laboratory of Translational Immunology and Vaccinology, Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering, KAIST, Daejeon (Korea, Republic of); Park, Young Woo [Aging Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Daejeon (Korea, Republic of); Shin, Eui-Cheol, E-mail: ecshin@kaist.ac.kr [Laboratory of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering, KAIST, Daejeon (Korea, Republic of)

    2015-08-21

    Cellular prion protein (PrP{sup C}) is widely expressed in various cell types, including cells of the immune system. However, the specific roles of PrP{sup C} in the immune system have not been clearly elucidated. In the present study, we investigated the effects of a soluble form of recombinant PrP{sup C} protein on human natural killer (NK) cells. Recombinant soluble PrP{sup C} protein was generated by fusion of human PrP{sup C} with the Fc portion of human IgG{sub 1} (PrP{sup C}-Fc). PrP{sup C}-Fc binds to the surface of human NK cells, particularly to CD56{sup dim} NK cells. PrP{sup C}-Fc induced the production of cytokines and chemokines and the degranulation of granzyme B from NK cells. In addition, PrP{sup C}-Fc facilitated the IL-15-induced proliferation of NK cells. PrP{sup C}-Fc induced phosphorylation of ERK-1/2 and JNK in NK cells, and inhibitors of the ERK or the JNK pathways abrogated PrP{sup C}-Fc-induced cytokine production in NK cells. In conclusion, the soluble form of recombinant PrP{sup C}-Fc protein activates human NK cells via the ERK and JNK signaling pathways. - Highlights: • Recombinant soluble PrP{sup C} (PrP{sup C}-Fc) was generated by fusion of human PrP{sup C} with IgG1 Fc portion. • PrP{sup C}-Fc protein induces the production of cytokines and degranulation from human NK cells. • PrP{sup C}-Fc protein enhances the IL-15-induced proliferation of human NK cells. • PrP{sup C}-Fc protein activates human NK cells via the ERK and JNK signaling pathways.

  1. Activation of human natural killer cells by the soluble form of cellular prion protein

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Seong, Yeon-Jae; Sung, Pil Soo; Jang, Young-Soon; Choi, Young Joon; Park, Bum-Chan; Park, Su-Hyung; Park, Young Woo; Shin, Eui-Cheol

    2015-01-01

    Cellular prion protein (PrP C ) is widely expressed in various cell types, including cells of the immune system. However, the specific roles of PrP C in the immune system have not been clearly elucidated. In the present study, we investigated the effects of a soluble form of recombinant PrP C protein on human natural killer (NK) cells. Recombinant soluble PrP C protein was generated by fusion of human PrP C with the Fc portion of human IgG 1 (PrP C -Fc). PrP C -Fc binds to the surface of human NK cells, particularly to CD56 dim NK cells. PrP C -Fc induced the production of cytokines and chemokines and the degranulation of granzyme B from NK cells. In addition, PrP C -Fc facilitated the IL-15-induced proliferation of NK cells. PrP C -Fc induced phosphorylation of ERK-1/2 and JNK in NK cells, and inhibitors of the ERK or the JNK pathways abrogated PrP C -Fc-induced cytokine production in NK cells. In conclusion, the soluble form of recombinant PrP C -Fc protein activates human NK cells via the ERK and JNK signaling pathways. - Highlights: • Recombinant soluble PrP C (PrP C -Fc) was generated by fusion of human PrP C with IgG1 Fc portion. • PrP C -Fc protein induces the production of cytokines and degranulation from human NK cells. • PrP C -Fc protein enhances the IL-15-induced proliferation of human NK cells. • PrP C -Fc protein activates human NK cells via the ERK and JNK signaling pathways

  2. Protease-sensitive synthetic prions.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David W Colby

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Prions arise when the cellular prion protein (PrP(C undergoes a self-propagating conformational change; the resulting infectious conformer is designated PrP(Sc. Frequently, PrP(Sc is protease-resistant but protease-sensitive (s prions have been isolated in humans and other animals. We report here that protease-sensitive, synthetic prions were generated in vitro during polymerization of recombinant (rec PrP into amyloid fibers. In 22 independent experiments, recPrP amyloid preparations, but not recPrP monomers or oligomers, transmitted disease to transgenic mice (n = 164, denoted Tg9949 mice, that overexpress N-terminally truncated PrP. Tg9949 control mice (n = 174 did not spontaneously generate prions although they were prone to late-onset spontaneous neurological dysfunction. When synthetic prion isolates from infected Tg9949 mice were serially transmitted in the same line of mice, they exhibited sPrP(Sc and caused neurodegeneration. Interestingly, these protease-sensitive prions did not shorten the life span of Tg9949 mice despite causing extensive neurodegeneration. We inoculated three synthetic prion isolates into Tg4053 mice that overexpress full-length PrP; Tg4053 mice are not prone to developing spontaneous neurological dysfunction. The synthetic prion isolates caused disease in 600-750 days in Tg4053 mice, which exhibited sPrP(Sc. These novel synthetic prions demonstrate that conformational changes in wild-type PrP can produce mouse prions composed exclusively of sPrP(Sc.

  3. The inhibition of prions through blocking prion conversion by permanently charged branched polyamines of low cytotoxicity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lim, Yong-beom; Mays, Charles E; Kim, Younghwan; Titlow, William B; Ryou, Chongsuk

    2010-03-01

    Branched polyamines are effective in inhibiting prions in a cationic surface charge density dependent manner. However, toxicity associated with branched polyamines, in general, often hampers the successful application of the compounds to treat prion diseases. Here, we report that constitutively maintained cationic properties in branched polyamines reduced the intrinsic toxicity of the compounds while retaining the anti-prion activities. In prion-infected neuroblastoma cells, quaternization of amines in polyethyleneimine (PEI) and polyamidoamine (PAMAM) dendrimers markedly increased the nontoxic concentration ranges of the compounds and still supported, albeit reduced, an appreciable level of anti-prion activity in clearing prions from the infected cells. Furthermore, quaternized PEI was able to degrade prions at acidic pH conditions and inhibit the in vitro prion propagation facilitated by conversion of the normal prion protein isoform to its misfolded counterpart, although such activities were decreased by quaternization. Quaternized PAMAM was least effective in degrading prions but efficiently inhibited prion conversion with the same efficacy as unmodified PAMAM. Our results suggest that quaternization represents an effective strategy for developing nontoxic branched polyamines with potent anti-prion activity. This study highlights the importance of polyamine structural control for developing polyamine-based anti-prion agents and understanding of an action mechanism of quaternized branched polyamines. Copyright (c) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Mammalian prions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salamat, Muhammad Khalid; Munoz-Montesino, Carola; Moudjou, Mohammed; Rezaei, Human; Laude, Hubert; Béringue, Vincent; Dron, Michel

    2013-01-01

    Upon prion infection, abnormal prion protein (PrPSc) self-perpetuate by conformational conversion of α-helix-rich PrPC into β sheet enriched form, leading to formation and deposition of PrPSc aggregates in affected brains. However the process remains poorly understood at the molecular level and the regions of PrP critical for conversion are still debated. Minimal amino acid substitutions can impair prion replication at many places in PrP. Conversely, we recently showed that bona fide prions could be generated after introduction of eight and up to 16 additional amino acids in the H2-H3 inter-helix loop of PrP. Prion replication also accommodated the insertions of an octapeptide at different places in the last turns of H2. This reverse genetic approach reveals an unexpected tolerance of prions to substantial sequence changes in the protease-resistant part which is associated with infectivity. It also demonstrates that conversion does not require the presence of a specific sequence in the middle of the H2-H3 area. We discuss the implications of our findings according to different structural models proposed for PrPSc and questioned the postulated existence of an N- or C-terminal prion domain in the protease-resistant region. PMID:23232499

  5. Classifying prion and prion-like phenomena.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harbi, Djamel; Harrison, Paul M

    2014-01-01

    The universe of prion and prion-like phenomena has expanded significantly in the past several years. Here, we overview the challenges in classifying this data informatically, given that terms such as "prion-like", "prion-related" or "prion-forming" do not have a stable meaning in the scientific literature. We examine the spectrum of proteins that have been described in the literature as forming prions, and discuss how "prion" can have a range of meaning, with a strict definition being for demonstration of infection with in vitro-derived recombinant prions. We suggest that although prion/prion-like phenomena can largely be apportioned into a small number of broad groups dependent on the type of transmissibility evidence for them, as new phenomena are discovered in the coming years, a detailed ontological approach might be necessary that allows for subtle definition of different "flavors" of prion / prion-like phenomena.

  6. Key points concerning amyloid infectivity and prion-like neuronal invasion

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alba eEspargaró

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available Amyloid aggregation has been related to an increasing number of human illnesses, from Alzheimer and Parkinson’s diseases to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Traditionally only prions have been considered as infectious agents with a high capacity of propagation. Although recent publications have showed that many amyloid proteins, including amyloid β-peptide, α-synuclein and tau protein, also propagate in a prion-like manner, the link between propagation of pathological proteins and neurotoxicity has not been evidenced. The extremely low infectivity in natural conditions of the most of non-prion amyloids is far from the spreading capacity displayed by the prions. However, it is important to elucidate the key factors that cause non-prion amyloids become infectious agents. In recent years, important advances in the understanding of the amyloid processes of amyloid-like proteins and unrelated prions (i.e., yeast and fungal prions have yielded essential information that can be applied to shed light on the prion phenomenon in mammals and humans. As shown in this review, recent evidences suggest that there are key factors that could dramatically modulate the prion capacity of proteins in the amyloid conformation. The concentration of nuclei, the presence of oligomers, and the toxicity, resistance and localization of these aggregates could be key factors affecting their spreading. In short, those factors that favor the high concentration of extracellular nuclei or oligomers, characterized by a small size, with a low toxicity could dramatically increase prion propensity; whereas low concentrations of highly toxic intracellular amyloids, with a large size, would prevent infectivity.

  7. Parasitic, fungal and prion zoonoses: an expanding universe of candidates for human disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Akritidis, N

    2011-03-01

    Zoonotic infections have emerged as a burden for millions of people in recent years, owing to re-emerging or novel pathogens often causing outbreaks in the developing world in the presence of inadequate public health infrastructure. Among zoonotic infections, those caused by parasitic pathogens are the ones that affect millions of humans worldwide, who are also at risk of developing chronic disease. The present review discusses the global effect of protozoan pathogens such as Leishmania sp., Trypanosoma sp., and Toxoplasma sp., as well as helminthic pathogens such as Echinococcus sp., Fasciola sp., and Trichinella sp. The zoonotic aspects of agents that are not essentially zoonotic are also discussed. The review further focuses on the zoonotic dynamics of fungal pathogens and prion diseases as observed in recent years, in an evolving environment in which novel patient target groups have developed for agents that were previously considered to be obscure or of minimal significance. © 2011 The Author. Clinical Microbiology and Infection © 2011 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

  8. Assessment of the PrPc Amino-Terminal Domain in Prion Species Barriers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davenport, Kristen A; Henderson, Davin M; Mathiason, Candace K; Hoover, Edward A

    2016-12-01

    Chronic wasting disease (CWD) in cervids and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle are prion diseases that are caused by the same protein-misfolding mechanism, but they appear to pose different risks to humans. We are interested in understanding the differences between the species barriers of CWD and BSE. We used real-time, quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) to model the central molecular event in prion disease, the templated misfolding of the normal prion protein, PrP c , to a pathogenic, amyloid isoform, scrapie prion protein, PrP Sc We examined the role of the PrP c amino-terminal domain (N-terminal domain [NTD], amino acids [aa] 23 to 90) in cross-species conversion by comparing the conversion efficiency of various prion seeds in either full-length (aa 23 to 231) or truncated (aa 90 to 231) PrP c We demonstrate that the presence of white-tailed deer and bovine NTDs hindered seeded conversion of PrP c , but human and bank vole NTDs did the opposite. Additionally, full-length human and bank vole PrP c s were more likely to be converted to amyloid by CWD prions than were their truncated forms. A chimera with replacement of the human NTD by the bovine NTD resembled human PrP c The requirement for an NTD, but not for the specific human sequence, suggests that the NTD interacts with other regions of the human PrP c to increase promiscuity. These data contribute to the evidence that, in addition to primary sequence, prion species barriers are controlled by interactions of the substrate NTD with the rest of the substrate PrP c molecule. We demonstrate that the amino-terminal domain of the normal prion protein, PrP c , hinders seeded conversion of bovine and white-tailed deer PrP c s to the prion forms, but it facilitates conversion of the human and bank vole PrP c s to the prion forms. Additionally, we demonstrate that the amino-terminal domain of human and bank vole PrP c s requires interaction with the rest of the molecule to facilitate conversion by CWD

  9. A role for astroglia in prion diseases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aguzzi, Adriano; Liu, Yingjun

    2017-12-04

    In this issue of JEM, Krejciova et al. (https://doi.org/10.1084/jem.20161547) report that astrocytes derived from human iPSCs can replicate human CJD prions. These observations provide a new, potentially very valuable model for studying human prions in cellula and for identifying antiprion compounds that might serve as clinical candidates. Furthermore, they add to the evidence that astrocytes may not be just innocent bystanders in prion diseases. © 2017 Aguzzi and Liu.

  10. Binding affinity toward human prion protein of some anti-prion compounds - Assessment based on QSAR modeling, molecular docking and non-parametric ranking.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kovačević, Strahinja; Karadžić, Milica; Podunavac-Kuzmanović, Sanja; Jevrić, Lidija

    2018-01-01

    The present study is based on the quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) analysis of binding affinity toward human prion protein (huPrP C ) of quinacrine, pyridine dicarbonitrile, diphenylthiazole and diphenyloxazole analogs applying different linear and non-linear chemometric regression techniques, including univariate linear regression, multiple linear regression, partial least squares regression and artificial neural networks. The QSAR analysis distinguished molecular lipophilicity as an important factor that contributes to the binding affinity. Principal component analysis was used in order to reveal similarities or dissimilarities among the studied compounds. The analysis of in silico absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity (ADMET) parameters was conducted. The ranking of the studied analogs on the basis of their ADMET parameters was done applying the sum of ranking differences, as a relatively new chemometric method. The main aim of the study was to reveal the most important molecular features whose changes lead to the changes in the binding affinities of the studied compounds. Another point of view on the binding affinity of the most promising analogs was established by application of molecular docking analysis. The results of the molecular docking were proven to be in agreement with the experimental outcome. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  11. Antimicrobial activity of human prion protein is mediated by its N-terminal region.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mukesh Pasupuleti

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Cellular prion-related protein (PrP(c is a cell-surface protein that is ubiquitously expressed in the human body. The multifunctionality of PrP(c, and presence of an exposed cationic and heparin-binding N-terminus, a feature characterizing many antimicrobial peptides, made us hypothesize that PrP(c could exert antimicrobial activity. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Intact recombinant PrP exerted antibacterial and antifungal effects at normal and low pH. Studies employing recombinant PrP and N- and C-terminally truncated variants, as well as overlapping peptide 20mers, demonstrated that the antimicrobial activity is mediated by the unstructured N-terminal part of the protein. Synthetic peptides of the N-terminus of PrP killed the Gram-negative bacteria Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and the Gram-positive Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus, as well as the fungus Candida parapsilosis. Fluorescence studies of peptide-treated bacteria, paired with analysis of peptide effects on liposomes, showed that the peptides exerted membrane-breaking effects similar to those seen after treatment with the "classical" human antimicrobial peptide LL-37. In contrast to LL-37, however, no marked helix induction was detected for the PrP-derived peptides in presence of negatively charged (bacteria-mimicking liposomes. PrP furthermore showed an inducible expression during wounding of human skin ex vivo and in vivo, as well as stimulation of keratinocytes with TGF-alpha in vitro. CONCLUSIONS: The demonstration of an antimicrobial activity of PrP, localisation of its activity to the N-terminal and heparin-binding region, combined with results showing an increased expression of PrP during wounding, indicate that PrPs could have a previously undisclosed role in host defense.

  12. Prions in yeast

    OpenAIRE

    Bezdíčka, Martin

    2013-01-01

    The thesis describes yeast prions and their biological effects on yeast in general. It defines the basic characteristics of yeast prions, that distinguish prions from other proteins. The thesis introduces various possibilities of prion formation, and propagation as well as specific types of yeast prions, including various functions of most studied types of prions. The thesis also focuses on chaperones that affect the state of yeast prions in cells. Lastly, the thesis indicates similarities be...

  13. Probing Early Misfolding Events in Prion Protein Mutants by NMR Spectroscopy

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gregor Ilc

    2013-08-01

    Full Text Available The post-translational conversion of the ubiquitously expressed cellular form of the prion protein, PrPC, into its misfolded and pathogenic isoform, known as prion or PrPSc, plays a key role in prion diseases. These maladies are denoted transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs and affect both humans and animals. A prerequisite for understanding TSEs is unraveling the molecular mechanism leading to the conversion process whereby most α-helical motifs are replaced by β-sheet secondary structures. Importantly, most point mutations linked to inherited prion diseases are clustered in the C-terminal domain region of PrPC and cause spontaneous conversion to PrPSc. Structural studies with PrP variants promise new clues regarding the proposed conversion mechanism and may help identify “hot spots” in PrPC involved in the pathogenic conversion. These investigations may also shed light on the early structural rearrangements occurring in some PrPC epitopes thought to be involved in modulating prion susceptibility. Here we present a detailed overview of our solution-state NMR studies on human prion protein carrying different pathological point mutations and the implications that such findings may have for the future of prion research.

  14. Yeast and Fungal Prions: Amyloid-Handling Systems, Amyloid Structure, and Prion Biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wickner, R B; Edskes, H K; Gorkovskiy, A; Bezsonov, E E; Stroobant, E E

    2016-01-01

    Yeast prions (infectious proteins) were discovered by their outré genetic properties and have become important models for an array of human prion and amyloid diseases. A single prion protein can become any of many distinct amyloid forms (called prion variants or strains), each of which is self-propagating, but with different biological properties (eg, lethal vs mild). The folded in-register parallel β sheet architecture of the yeast prion amyloids naturally suggests a mechanism by which prion variant information can be faithfully transmitted for many generations. The yeast prions rely on cellular chaperones for their propagation, but can be cured by various chaperone imbalances. The Btn2/Cur1 system normally cures most variants of the [URE3] prion that arise. Although most variants of the [PSI+] and [URE3] prions are toxic or lethal, some are mild in their effects. Even the most mild forms of these prions are rare in the wild, indicating that they too are detrimental to yeast. The beneficial [Het-s] prion of Podospora anserina poses an important contrast in its structure, biology, and evolution to the yeast prions characterized thus far. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  15. Prion Infectivity in Fat of Deer with Chronic Wasting Disease▿

    OpenAIRE

    Race, Brent; Meade-White, Kimberly; Race, Richard; Chesebro, Bruce

    2009-01-01

    Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a neurodegenerative prion disease of cervids. Some animal prion diseases, such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, can infect humans; however, human susceptibility to CWD is unknown. In ruminants, prion infectivity is found in central nervous system and lymphoid tissues, with smaller amounts in intestine and muscle. In mice, prion infectivity was recently detected in fat. Since ruminant fat is consumed by humans and fed to animals, we determined infectivity t...

  16. Co-existence of Distinct Prion Types Enables Conformational Evolution of Human PrPSc by Competitive Selection

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Haldiman, T.; Kim, C.; Cohen, Y.; Chen, W.; Blevins, J.; Qing, L.; Cohen, M.L.; Langeveld, J.P.M.; Telling, G.C.; Kong, Q.; Safar, J.G.

    2013-01-01

    The unique phenotypic characteristics of mammalian prions are thought to be encoded in the conformation of pathogenic prion proteins (PrPSc). The molecular mechanism responsible for the adaptation, mutation, and evolution of prions observed in cloned cells and upon crossing the species barrier

  17. Adult human microglia secrete cytokines when exposed to neurotoxic prion protein peptide: no intermediary role for prostaglandin E2

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Veerhuis, Robert; Hoozemans, Jeroen J. M.; Janssen, Ingrid; Boshuizen, Ronald S.; Langeveld, Jan P. M.; Eikelenboom, Piet

    2002-01-01

    Prion diseases are characterized by accumulation of protease resistant isoforms of prion protein (termed PrP(SC)), glial activation and neurodegeneration. The time course of PrP deposition, appearance of activated microglia, and of neuronal apoptosis in experimentally-induced prion disease suggests

  18. Comparative syntheses of peptides and peptide thioesters derived from mouse and human prion proteins

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Šebestík, Jaroslav; Zawada, Zbigniew; Šafařík, Martin; Hlaváček, Jan

    2012-01-01

    Roč. 43, č. 3 (2012), s. 1297-1309 ISSN 0939-4451 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA203/07/1517 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z40550506 Keywords : prion protein segments * classical synthesis * chemical ligation synthesis * peptide thioesters Subject RIV: CC - Organic Chemistry Impact factor: 3.914, year: 2012

  19. Shape understanding system machine understanding and human understanding

    CERN Document Server

    Les, Zbigniew

    2015-01-01

    This is the third book presenting selected results of research on the further development of the shape understanding system (SUS) carried out by authors in the newly founded Queen Jadwiga Research Institute of Understanding. In this book the new term Machine Understanding is introduced referring to a new area of research aiming to investigate the possibility of building machines with the ability to understand. It is presented that SUS needs to some extent mimic human understanding and for this reason machines are evaluated according to the rules applied for the evaluation of human understanding. The book shows how to formulate problems and how it can be tested if the machine is able to solve these problems.    

  20. Cellular Aspects of Prion Replication In Vitro

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grassmann, Andrea; Wolf, Hanna; Hofmann, Julia; Graham, James; Vorberg, Ina

    2013-01-01

    Prion diseases or transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are fatal neurodegenerative disorders in mammals that are caused by unconventional agents predominantly composed of aggregated misfolded prion protein (PrP). Prions self-propagate by recruitment of host-encoded PrP into highly ordered β-sheet rich aggregates. Prion strains differ in their clinical, pathological and biochemical characteristics and are likely to be the consequence of distinct abnormal prion protein conformers that stably replicate their alternate states in the host cell. Understanding prion cell biology is fundamental for identifying potential drug targets for disease intervention. The development of permissive cell culture models has greatly enhanced our knowledge on entry, propagation and dissemination of TSE agents. However, despite extensive research, the precise mechanism of prion infection and potential strain effects remain enigmatic. This review summarizes our current knowledge of the cell biology and propagation of prions derived from cell culture experiments. We discuss recent findings on the trafficking of cellular and pathologic PrP, the potential sites of abnormal prion protein synthesis and potential co-factors involved in prion entry and propagation. PMID:23340381

  1. Challenges in human behavior understanding

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Salah, A.A.; Gevers, T.; Sebe, N.; Vinciarelli, A.

    2010-01-01

    Recent advances in pattern recognition has allowed computer scientists and psychologists to jointly address automatic analysis of of human behavior via computers. The Workshop on Human Behavior Understanding at the International Conference on Pattern Recognition explores a number of different

  2. Prion Protein and Aging

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lisa eGasperini

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available The cellular prion protein (PrPC has been widely investigated ever since its conformational isoform, the prion (or PrPSc, was identified as the etiological agent of prion disorders. The high homology shared by the PrPC-encoding gene among mammals, its high turnover rate and expression in every tissue strongly suggest that PrPC may possess key physiological functions. Therefore, defining PrPC roles, properties and fate in the physiology of mammalian cells would be fundamental to understand its pathological involvement in prion diseases. Since the incidence of these neurodegenerative disorders is enhanced in aging, understanding PrPC functions in this life phase may be of crucial importance. Indeed, a large body of evidence suggests that PrPC plays a neuroprotective and antioxidant role. Moreover, it has been suggested that PrPC is involved in Alzheimer disease, another neurodegenerative pathology that develops predominantly in the aging population. In prion diseases, PrPC function is likely lost upon protein aggregation occurring in the course of the disease. Additionally, the aging process may alter PrPC biochemical properties, thus influencing its propensity to convert into PrPSc. Both phenomena may contribute to the disease development and progression. In Alzheimer disease, PrPC has a controversial role because its presence seems to mediate β-amyloid toxicity, while its down-regulation correlates with neuronal death. The role of PrPC in aging has been investigated from different perspectives, often leading to contrasting results. The putative protein functions in aging have been studied in relation to memory, behavior and myelin maintenance. In aging mice, PrPC changes in subcellular localization and post-translational modifications have been explored in an attempt to relate them to different protein roles and propensity to convert into PrPSc. Here we provide an overview of the most relevant studies attempting to delineate PrPC functions and

  3. Comparative syntheses of peptide thioesters derived from mouse and human prion proteins

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Šebestík, Jaroslav; Zawada, Zbigniew; Šafařík, Martin; Hlaváček, Jan

    2011-01-01

    Roč. 41, Suppl. 1 (2011), S78-S79 ISSN 0939-4451. [International Congress on Amino Acids, Peptides and Proteins /12./. 01.08.2011-05.08.2011, Beijing] R&D Projects: GA ČR GA203/07/1517 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z40550506 Keywords : peptide thioesters * ligation * prions * C-domain Subject RIV: CC - Organic Chemistry

  4. Optimization of Aryl Amides that Extend Survival in Prion-Infected Mice.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giles, Kurt; Berry, David B; Condello, Carlo; Dugger, Brittany N; Li, Zhe; Oehler, Abby; Bhardwaj, Sumita; Elepano, Manuel; Guan, Shenheng; Silber, B Michael; Olson, Steven H; Prusiner, Stanley B

    2016-09-01

    Developing therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases (NDs) prevalent in the aging population remains a daunting challenge. With the growing understanding that many NDs progress by conformational self-templating of specific proteins, the prototypical prion diseases offer a platform for ND drug discovery. We evaluated high-throughput screening hits with the aryl amide scaffold and explored the structure-activity relationships around three series differing in their N-aryl core: benzoxazole, benzothiazole, and cyano. Potent anti-prion compounds were advanced to pharmacokinetic studies, and the resulting brain-penetrant leads from each series, together with a related N-aryl piperazine lead, were escalated to long-term dosing and efficacy studies. Compounds from each of the four series doubled the survival of mice infected with a mouse-passaged prion strain. Treatment with aryl amides altered prion strain properties, as evidenced by the distinct patterns of neuropathological deposition of prion protein and associated astrocytic gliosis in the brain; however, none of the aryl amide compounds resulted in drug-resistant prion strains, in contrast to previous studies on compounds with the 2-aminothiazole (2-AMT) scaffold. As seen with 2-AMTs and other effective anti-prion compounds reported to date, the novel aryl amides reported here were ineffective in prolonging the survival of transgenic mice infected with human prions. Most encouraging is our discovery that aryl amides show that the development of drug resistance is not an inevitable consequence of efficacious anti-prion therapeutics. Copyright © 2016 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

  5. Prion Protein Devoid of the Octapeptide Repeat Region Delays Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Pathogenesis in Mice.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hara, Hideyuki; Miyata, Hironori; Das, Nandita Rani; Chida, Junji; Yoshimochi, Tatenobu; Uchiyama, Keiji; Watanabe, Hitomi; Kondoh, Gen; Yokoyama, Takashi; Sakaguchi, Suehiro

    2018-01-01

    Conformational conversion of the cellular isoform of prion protein, PrP C , into the abnormally folded, amyloidogenic isoform, PrP Sc , is a key pathogenic event in prion diseases, including Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans and scrapie and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in animals. We previously reported that the octapeptide repeat (OR) region could be dispensable for converting PrP C into PrP Sc after infection with RML prions. We demonstrated that mice transgenically expressing mouse PrP with deletion of the OR region on the PrP knockout background, designated Tg(PrPΔOR)/ Prnp 0 / 0 mice, did not show reduced susceptibility to RML scrapie prions, with abundant accumulation of PrP Sc ΔOR in their brains. We show here that Tg(PrPΔOR)/ Prnp 0 / 0 mice were highly resistant to BSE prions, developing the disease with markedly elongated incubation times after infection with BSE prions. The conversion of PrPΔOR into PrP Sc ΔOR was markedly delayed in their brains. These results suggest that the OR region may have a crucial role in the conversion of PrP C into PrP Sc after infection with BSE prions. However, Tg(PrPΔOR)/ Prnp 0 / 0 mice remained susceptible to RML and 22L scrapie prions, developing the disease without elongated incubation times after infection with RML and 22L prions. PrP Sc ΔOR accumulated only slightly less in the brains of RML- or 22L-infected Tg(PrPΔOR)/ Prnp 0 / 0 mice than PrP Sc in control wild-type mice. Taken together, these results indicate that the OR region of PrP C could play a differential role in the pathogenesis of BSE prions and RML or 22L scrapie prions. IMPORTANCE Structure-function relationship studies of PrP C conformational conversion into PrP Sc are worthwhile to understand the mechanism of the conversion of PrP C into PrP Sc We show here that, by inoculating Tg(PrPΔOR)/ Prnp 0 / 0 mice with the three different strains of RML, 22L, and BSE prions, the OR region could play a differential role in the conversion of

  6. Prions in Variably Protease-Sensitive Prionopathy: An Update

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Zou, W.Q.; Gambetti, P.; Xiao, X.; Yuan, J.; Langeveld, J.P.M.; Pirisinu, L.

    2013-01-01

    Human prion diseases, including sporadic, familial, and acquired forms such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), are caused by prions in which an abnormal prion protein (PrPSc) derived from its normal cellular isoform (PrPC) is the only known component. The recently-identified variably

  7. Effect of the electrostatic surface potential on the oligomerization of full-length human recombinant prion protein at single-molecule level

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wang, Bin; Xu, Bingqian, E-mail: bxu@engr.uga.edu [Single Molecule Study Laboratory, College of Engineering and Nanoscale Science, and Engineering Center, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30605 (United States); Lou, Zhichao [Single Molecule Study Laboratory, College of Engineering and Nanoscale Science, and Engineering Center, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30605 (United States); College of Materials Science and Technology, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing 210016 (China); Zhang, Haiqian [College of Materials Science and Technology, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing 210016 (China)

    2016-03-21

    The electrostatic surface potential (ESP) of prion oligomers has critical influences on the aggregating processes of the prion molecules. The atomic force microscopy (AFM) and structural simulation were combined to investigate the molecular basis of the full-length human recombinant prion oligomerization on mica surfaces. The high resolution non-intrusive AFM images showed that the prion oligomers formed different patterns on mica surfaces at different buffer pH values. The basic binding units for the large oligomers were determined to be prion momoners (Ms), dimers (Ds), and trimers (Ts). The forming of the D and T units happened through the binding of hydrophobic β-sheets of the M units. In contrast, the α-helices of these M, D, and T units were the binding areas for the formation of large oligomers. At pH 4.5, the binding units M, D, and T showed clear polarized ESP distributions on the surface domains, while at pH 7.0, they showed more evenly distributed ESPs. Based on the conformations of oligomers observed from AFM images, the D and T units were more abundantly on mica surface at pH 4.5 because the ESP re-distribution of M units helped to stabilize these larger oligomers. The amino acid side chains involved in the binding interfaces were stabilized by hydrogen bonds and electrostatic interactions. The detailed analysis of the charged side chains at pH 4.5 indicated that the polarized ESPs induced the aggregations among M, D, and T to form larger oligomers. Therefore, the hydrogen bonds and electrostatic interactions worked together to form the stabilized prion oligomers.

  8. Effect of the electrostatic surface potential on the oligomerization of full-length human recombinant prion protein at single-molecule level

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wang, Bin; Xu, Bingqian; Lou, Zhichao; Zhang, Haiqian

    2016-01-01

    The electrostatic surface potential (ESP) of prion oligomers has critical influences on the aggregating processes of the prion molecules. The atomic force microscopy (AFM) and structural simulation were combined to investigate the molecular basis of the full-length human recombinant prion oligomerization on mica surfaces. The high resolution non-intrusive AFM images showed that the prion oligomers formed different patterns on mica surfaces at different buffer pH values. The basic binding units for the large oligomers were determined to be prion momoners (Ms), dimers (Ds), and trimers (Ts). The forming of the D and T units happened through the binding of hydrophobic β-sheets of the M units. In contrast, the α-helices of these M, D, and T units were the binding areas for the formation of large oligomers. At pH 4.5, the binding units M, D, and T showed clear polarized ESP distributions on the surface domains, while at pH 7.0, they showed more evenly distributed ESPs. Based on the conformations of oligomers observed from AFM images, the D and T units were more abundantly on mica surface at pH 4.5 because the ESP re-distribution of M units helped to stabilize these larger oligomers. The amino acid side chains involved in the binding interfaces were stabilized by hydrogen bonds and electrostatic interactions. The detailed analysis of the charged side chains at pH 4.5 indicated that the polarized ESPs induced the aggregations among M, D, and T to form larger oligomers. Therefore, the hydrogen bonds and electrostatic interactions worked together to form the stabilized prion oligomers.

  9. Effect of the electrostatic surface potential on the oligomerization of full-length human recombinant prion protein at single-molecule level

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Bin; Lou, Zhichao; Zhang, Haiqian; Xu, Bingqian

    2016-03-01

    The electrostatic surface potential (ESP) of prion oligomers has critical influences on the aggregating processes of the prion molecules. The atomic force microscopy (AFM) and structural simulation were combined to investigate the molecular basis of the full-length human recombinant prion oligomerization on mica surfaces. The high resolution non-intrusive AFM images showed that the prion oligomers formed different patterns on mica surfaces at different buffer pH values. The basic binding units for the large oligomers were determined to be prion momoners (Ms), dimers (Ds), and trimers (Ts). The forming of the D and T units happened through the binding of hydrophobic β-sheets of the M units. In contrast, the α-helices of these M, D, and T units were the binding areas for the formation of large oligomers. At pH 4.5, the binding units M, D, and T showed clear polarized ESP distributions on the surface domains, while at pH 7.0, they showed more evenly distributed ESPs. Based on the conformations of oligomers observed from AFM images, the D and T units were more abundantly on mica surface at pH 4.5 because the ESP re-distribution of M units helped to stabilize these larger oligomers. The amino acid side chains involved in the binding interfaces were stabilized by hydrogen bonds and electrostatic interactions. The detailed analysis of the charged side chains at pH 4.5 indicated that the polarized ESPs induced the aggregations among M, D, and T to form larger oligomers. Therefore, the hydrogen bonds and electrostatic interactions worked together to form the stabilized prion oligomers.

  10. The Prion Concept and Synthetic Prions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Legname, Giuseppe; Moda, Fabio

    2017-01-01

    Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies or prion diseases are a group of fatal neurodegenerative diseases caused by unconventional infectious agents, known as prions (PrP Sc ). Prions derive from a conformational conversion of the normally folded prion protein (PrP C ), which acquires pathological and infectious features. Moreover, PrP Sc is able to transmit the pathological conformation to PrP C through a mechanism that is still not well understood. The generation of synthetic prions, which behave like natural prions, is of fundamental importance to study the process of PrP C conversion and to assess the efficacy of therapeutic strategies to interfere with this process. Moreover, the ability of synthetic prions to induce pathology in animals confirms that the pathological properties of the prion strains are all enciphered in abnormal conformations, characterizing these infectious agents. © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  11. Accelerating Yeast Prion Biology using Droplet Microfluidics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ung, Lloyd; Rotem, Assaf; Jarosz, Daniel; Datta, Manoshi; Lindquist, Susan; Weitz, David

    2012-02-01

    Prions are infectious proteins in a misfolded form, that can induce normal proteins to take the misfolded state. Yeast prions are relevant, as a model of human prion diseases, and interesting from an evolutionary standpoint. Prions may also be a form of epigenetic inheritance, which allow yeast to adapt to stressful conditions at rates exceeding those of random mutations and propagate that adaptation to their offspring. Encapsulation of yeast in droplet microfluidic devices enables high-throughput measurements with single cell resolution, which would not be feasible using bulk methods. Millions of populations of yeast can be screened to obtain reliable measurements of prion induction and loss rates. The population dynamics of clonal yeast, when a fraction of the cells are prion expressing, can be elucidated. Furthermore, the mechanism by which certain strains of bacteria induce yeast to express prions in the wild can be deduced. Integrating the disparate fields of prion biology and droplet microfluidics reveals a more complete picture of how prions may be more than just diseases and play a functional role in yeast.

  12. Prion Strain Characterization of a Novel Subtype of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Galeno, Roberta; Di Bari, Michele Angelo; Nonno, Romolo; Cardone, Franco; Sbriccoli, Marco; Graziano, Silvia; Ingrosso, Loredana; Fiorini, Michele; Valanzano, Angelina; Pasini, Giulia; Poleggi, Anna; Vinci, Ramona; Ladogana, Anna; Puopolo, Maria; Monaco, Salvatore; Agrimi, Umberto; Zanusso, Gianluigi; Pocchiari, Maurizio

    2017-06-01

    In 2007, we reported a patient with an atypical form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) heterozygous for methionine-valine (MV) at codon 129 who showed a novel pathological prion protein (PrP TSE ) conformation with an atypical glycoform (AG) profile and intraneuronal PrP deposition. In the present study, we further characterize the conformational properties of this pathological prion protein (PrP TSE MV AG ), showing that PrP TSE MV AG is composed of multiple conformers with biochemical properties distinct from those of PrP TSE type 1 and type 2 of MV sporadic CJD (sCJD). Experimental transmission of CJD-MV AG to bank voles and gene-targeted transgenic mice carrying the human prion protein gene (TgHu mice) showed unique transmission rates, survival times, neuropathological changes, PrP TSE deposition patterns, and PrP TSE glycotypes that are distinct from those of sCJD-MV1 and sCJD-MV2. These biochemical and experimental data suggest the presence of a novel prion strain in CJD-MV AG IMPORTANCE Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is caused by the misfolding of the cellular prion protein, which assumes two different major conformations (type 1 and type 2) and, together with the methionine/valine polymorphic codon 129 of the prion protein gene, contribute to the occurrence of distinct clinical-pathological phenotypes. Inoculation in laboratory rodents of brain tissues from the six possible combinations of pathological prion protein types with codon 129 genotypes results in the identification of 3 or 4 strains of prions. We report on the identification of a novel strain of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease isolated from a patient who carried an abnormally glycosylated pathological prion protein. This novel strain has unique biochemical characteristics, does not transmit to humanized transgenic mice, and shows exclusive transmission properties in bank voles. The identification of a novel human prion strain improves our understanding of the pathogenesis of the disease and of

  13. New variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob (vCJD disease and other human prion diseases under epidemiological surveillance in Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vera Lúcia Gattás

    Full Text Available Abstract To increase the timeliness of detection of human cases of the new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD and to reduce the risk of transmission, the Brazilian Ministry of Health has established and standardized rules and control measures. These include the definition of criteria for suspect cases, reporting, monitoring, and control measures for illness prevention and transmission. Guidelines to be used by the team of health care staff were published and distributed to health workers. A detailed proposal for a simplified system of surveillance for prion diseases was developed and mandatory reporting introduced. Additional effort is necessary to increase vCJD case detection, thus making it necessary to establish a partnership with health care services for best identification of suspected cases and dissemination of information to all involved in the service dealing with vCJD investigation.

  14. Nanomedicine for prion disease treatment: new insights into the role of dendrimers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCarthy, James M; Appelhans, Dietmar; Tatzelt, Jörg; Rogers, Mark S

    2013-01-01

    Despite their devastating impact, no effective therapeutic yet exists for prion diseases at the symptomatic stage in humans or animals. Progress is hampered by the difficulty in identifying compounds that affect PrP (Sc) and the necessity of any potential therapeutic to gain access to the CNS. Synthetic polymers known as dendrimers are a particularly promising candidate in this area. Studies with cell culture models of prion disease and prion infected brain homogenate have demonstrated that numerous species of dendrimers eliminate PrP (Sc) in a dose and time dependent fashion and specific glycodendrimers are capable of crossing the CNS. However, despite their potential a number of important questions remained unanswered such as what makes an effective dendrimer and how dendrimers eliminate prions intracellularly. In a number of recent studies we have tackled these questions and revealed for the first time that a specific dendrimer can inhibit the intracellular conversion of PrP (C) to PrP (Sc) and that a high density of surface reactive groups is a necessity for dendrimers in vitro anti-prion activity. Understanding how a therapeutic works is a vital component in maximising its activity and these studies therefore represent a significant development in the race to find effective treatments for prion diseases.

  15. Distinct prion-like strains of amyloid beta implicated in phenotypic diversity of Alzheimer's disease.

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    Cohen, Mark; Appleby, Brian; Safar, Jiri G

    2016-01-01

    Vast evidence on human prions demonstrates that variable disease phenotypes, rates of propagation, and targeting of distinct brain structures are determined by unique conformers (strains) of pathogenic prion protein (PrP(Sc)). Recent progress in the development of advanced biophysical tools that inventory structural characteristics of amyloid beta (Aβ) in the brain cortex of phenotypically diverse Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients, revealed unique spectrum of oligomeric particles in the cortex of rapidly progressive cases, implicating these structures in variable rates of propagation in the brain, and in distict disease manifestation. Since only ∼30% of phenotypic diversity of AD can be explained by polymorphisms in risk genes, these and transgenic bioassay data argue that structurally distinct Aβ particles play a major role in the diverse pathogenesis of AD, and may behave as distinct prion-like strains encoding diverse phenotypes. From these observations and our growing understanding of prions, there is a critical need for new strain-specific diagnostic strategies for misfolded proteins causing these elusive disorders. Since targeted drug therapy can induce mutation and evolution of prions into new strains, effective treatments of AD will require drugs that enhance clearance of pathogenic conformers, reduce the precursor protein, or inhibit the conversion of precursors into prion-like states.

  16. The Structural Architecture of an Infectious Mammalian Prion Using Electron Cryomicroscopy.

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    Ester Vázquez-Fernández

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available The structure of the infectious prion protein (PrPSc, which is responsible for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans and bovine spongiform encephalopathy, has escaped all attempts at elucidation due to its insolubility and propensity to aggregate. PrPSc replicates by converting the non-infectious, cellular prion protein (PrPC into the misfolded, infectious conformer through an unknown mechanism. PrPSc and its N-terminally truncated variant, PrP 27-30, aggregate into amorphous aggregates, 2D crystals, and amyloid fibrils. The structure of these infectious conformers is essential to understanding prion replication and the development of structure-based therapeutic interventions. Here we used the repetitive organization inherent to GPI-anchorless PrP 27-30 amyloid fibrils to analyze their structure via electron cryomicroscopy. Fourier-transform analyses of averaged fibril segments indicate a repeating unit of 19.1 Å. 3D reconstructions of these fibrils revealed two distinct protofilaments, and, together with a molecular volume of 18,990 Å3, predicted the height of each PrP 27-30 molecule as ~17.7 Å. Together, the data indicate a four-rung β-solenoid structure as a key feature for the architecture of infectious mammalian prions. Furthermore, they allow to formulate a molecular mechanism for the replication of prions. Knowledge of the prion structure will provide important insights into the self-propagation mechanisms of protein misfolding.

  17. Prying into the Prion Hypothesis for Parkinson's Disease.

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    Brundin, Patrik; Melki, Ronald

    2017-10-11

    In Parkinson's disease, intracellular α-synuclein inclusions form in neurons. We suggest that prion-like behavior of α-synuclein is a key component in Parkinson's disease pathogenesis. Although multiple molecular changes are involved in the triggering of the disease process, we propose that neuron-to-neuron transfer is a crucial event that is essential for Lewy pathology to spread from one brain region to another. In this review, we describe key findings in human postmortem brains, cultured cells, and animal models of disease that support the idea that α-synuclein can act as a prion. We consider potential triggers of the α-synuclein misfolding and why the aggregates escape cellular degradation under disease conditions. We also discuss whether different strains of α-synuclein fibrils can underlie differences in cellular and regional distribution of aggregates in different synucleinopathies. Our conclusion is that α-synuclein probably acts as a prion in human diseases, and a deeper understanding of this step in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease can facilitate the development of disease-modifying therapies in the future. Dual Perspectives Companion Paper: Parkinson's Disease Is Not Simply a Prion Disorder, by D. James Surmeier, José A. Obeso, and Glenda M. Halliday. Copyright © 2017 the authors 0270-6474/17/379808-11$15.00/0.

  18. Mammalian amyloidogenic proteins promote prion nucleation in yeast.

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    Chandramowlishwaran, Pavithra; Sun, Meng; Casey, Kristin L; Romanyuk, Andrey V; Grizel, Anastasiya V; Sopova, Julia V; Rubel, Aleksandr A; Nussbaum-Krammer, Carmen; Vorberg, Ina M; Chernoff, Yury O

    2018-03-02

    Fibrous cross-β aggregates (amyloids) and their transmissible forms (prions) cause diseases in mammals (including humans) and control heritable traits in yeast. Initial nucleation of a yeast prion by transiently overproduced prion-forming protein or its (typically, QN-rich) prion domain is efficient only in the presence of another aggregated (in most cases, QN-rich) protein. Here, we demonstrate that a fusion of the prion domain of yeast protein Sup35 to some non-QN-rich mammalian proteins, associated with amyloid diseases, promotes nucleation of Sup35 prions in the absence of pre-existing aggregates. In contrast, both a fusion of the Sup35 prion domain to a multimeric non-amyloidogenic protein and the expression of a mammalian amyloidogenic protein that is not fused to the Sup35 prion domain failed to promote prion nucleation, further indicating that physical linkage of a mammalian amyloidogenic protein to the prion domain of a yeast protein is required for the nucleation of a yeast prion. Biochemical and cytological approaches confirmed the nucleation of protein aggregates in the yeast cell. Sequence alterations antagonizing or enhancing amyloidogenicity of human amyloid-β (associated with Alzheimer's disease) and mouse prion protein (associated with prion diseases), respectively, antagonized or enhanced nucleation of a yeast prion by these proteins. The yeast-based prion nucleation assay, developed in our work, can be employed for mutational dissection of amyloidogenic proteins. We anticipate that it will aid in the identification of chemicals that influence initial amyloid nucleation and in searching for new amyloidogenic proteins in a variety of proteomes. © 2018 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

  19. Understanding human DNA sequence variation.

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    Kidd, K K; Pakstis, A J; Speed, W C; Kidd, J R

    2004-01-01

    Over the past century researchers have identified normal genetic variation and studied that variation in diverse human populations to determine the amounts and distributions of that variation. That information is being used to develop an understanding of the demographic histories of the different populations and the species as a whole, among other studies. With the advent of DNA-based markers in the last quarter century, these studies have accelerated. One of the challenges for the next century is to understand that variation. One component of that understanding will be population genetics. We present here examples of many of the ways these new data can be analyzed from a population perspective using results from our laboratory on multiple individual DNA-based polymorphisms, many clustered in haplotypes, studied in multiple populations representing all major geographic regions of the world. These data support an "out of Africa" hypothesis for human dispersal around the world and begin to refine the understanding of population structures and genetic relationships. We are also developing baseline information against which we can compare findings at different loci to aid in the identification of loci subject, now and in the past, to selection (directional or balancing). We do not yet have a comprehensive understanding of the extensive variation in the human genome, but some of that understanding is coming from population genetics.

  20. Direct Detection of Soil-Bound Prions

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    Genovesi, Sacha; Leita, Liviana; Sequi, Paolo; Andrighetto, Igino; Sorgato, M. Catia; Bertoli, Alessandro

    2007-01-01

    Scrapie and chronic wasting disease are contagious prion diseases affecting sheep and cervids, respectively. Studies have indicated that horizontal transmission is important in sustaining these epidemics, and that environmental contamination plays an important role in this. In the perspective of detecting prions in soil samples from the field by more direct methods than animal-based bioassays, we have developed a novel immuno-based approach that visualises in situ the major component (PrPSc) of prions sorbed onto agricultural soil particles. Importantly, the protocol needs no extraction of the protein from soil. Using a cell-based assay of infectivity, we also report that samples of agricultural soil, or quartz sand, acquire prion infectivity after exposure to whole brain homogenates from prion-infected mice. Our data provide further support to the notion that prion-exposed soils retain infectivity, as recently determined in Syrian hamsters intracerebrally or orally challanged with contaminated soils. The cell approach of the potential infectivity of contaminated soil is faster and cheaper than classical animal-based bioassays. Although it suffers from limitations, e.g. it can currently test only a few mouse prion strains, the cell model can nevertheless be applied in its present form to understand how soil composition influences infectivity, and to test prion-inactivating procedures. PMID:17957252

  1. Direct detection of soil-bound prions.

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    Sacha Genovesi

    Full Text Available Scrapie and chronic wasting disease are contagious prion diseases affecting sheep and cervids, respectively. Studies have indicated that horizontal transmission is important in sustaining these epidemics, and that environmental contamination plays an important role in this. In the perspective of detecting prions in soil samples from the field by more direct methods than animal-based bioassays, we have developed a novel immuno-based approach that visualises in situ the major component (PrP(Sc of prions sorbed onto agricultural soil particles. Importantly, the protocol needs no extraction of the protein from soil. Using a cell-based assay of infectivity, we also report that samples of agricultural soil, or quartz sand, acquire prion infectivity after exposure to whole brain homogenates from prion-infected mice. Our data provide further support to the notion that prion-exposed soils retain infectivity, as recently determined in Syrian hamsters intracerebrally or orally challenged with contaminated soils. The cell approach of the potential infectivity of contaminated soil is faster and cheaper than classical animal-based bioassays. Although it suffers from limitations, e.g. it can currently test only a few mouse prion strains, the cell model can nevertheless be applied in its present form to understand how soil composition influences infectivity, and to test prion-inactivating procedures.

  2. Ex vivo mammalian prions are formed of paired double helical prion protein fibrils.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Terry, Cassandra; Wenborn, Adam; Gros, Nathalie; Sells, Jessica; Joiner, Susan; Hosszu, Laszlo L P; Tattum, M Howard; Panico, Silvia; Clare, Daniel K; Collinge, John; Saibil, Helen R; Wadsworth, Jonathan D F

    2016-05-01

    Mammalian prions are hypothesized to be fibrillar or amyloid forms of prion protein (PrP), but structures observed to date have not been definitively correlated with infectivity and the three-dimensional structure of infectious prions has remained obscure. Recently, we developed novel methods to obtain exceptionally pure preparations of prions from mouse brain and showed that pathogenic PrP in these high-titre preparations is assembled into rod-like assemblies. Here, we have used precise cell culture-based prion infectivity assays to define the physical relationship between the PrP rods and prion infectivity and have used electron tomography to define their architecture. We show that infectious PrP rods isolated from multiple prion strains have a common hierarchical assembly comprising twisted pairs of short fibres with repeating substructure. The architecture of the PrP rods provides a new structural basis for understanding prion infectivity and can explain the inability to systematically generate high-titre synthetic prions from recombinant PrP. © 2016 The Authors.

  3. Experimental Models of Inherited PrP Prion Diseases.

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    Watts, Joel C; Prusiner, Stanley B

    2017-11-01

    The inherited prion protein (PrP) prion disorders, which include familial Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker disease, and fatal familial insomnia, constitute ∼10%-15% of all PrP prion disease cases in humans. Attempts to generate animal models of these disorders using transgenic mice expressing mutant PrP have produced variable results. Although many lines of mice develop spontaneous signs of neurological illness with accompanying prion disease-specific neuropathological changes, others do not. Furthermore, demonstrating the presence of protease-resistant PrP species and prion infectivity-two of the hallmarks of the PrP prion disorders-in the brains of spontaneously sick mice has proven particularly challenging. Here, we review the progress that has been made toward developing accurate mouse models of the inherited PrP prion disorders. Copyright © 2017 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; all rights reserved.

  4. Prions and prion-like proteins.

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    Fraser, Paul E

    2014-07-18

    Prions are self-replicating protein aggregates and are the primary causative factor in a number of neurological diseases in mammals. The prion protein (PrP) undergoes a conformational transformation leading to aggregation into an infectious cellular pathogen. Prion-like protein spreading and transmission of aggregates between cells have also been demonstrated for other proteins associated with Alzheimer disease and Parkinson disease. This protein-only phenomenon may therefore have broader implications in neurodegenerative disorders. The minireviews in this thematic series highlight the recent advances in prion biology and the roles these unique proteins play in disease. © 2014 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

  5. Treatment with a non-toxic, self-replicating anti-prion delays or prevents prion disease in vivo.

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    Diaz-Espinoza, R; Morales, R; Concha-Marambio, L; Moreno-Gonzalez, I; Moda, F; Soto, C

    2018-03-01

    Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are fatal neurological disorders caused by prions, which are composed of a misfolded protein (PrP Sc ) that self-propagates in the brain of infected individuals by converting the normal prion protein (PrP C ) into the pathological isoform. Here, we report a novel experimental strategy for preventing prion disease based on producing a self-replicating, but innocuous PrP Sc -like form, termed anti-prion, which can compete with the replication of pathogenic prions. Our results show that a prophylactic inoculation of prion-infected animals with an anti-prion delays the onset of the disease and in some animals completely prevents the development of clinical symptoms and brain damage. The data indicate that a single injection of the anti-prion eliminated ~99% of the infectivity associated to pathogenic prions. Furthermore, this treatment caused significant changes in the profile of regional PrP Sc deposition in the brains of animals that were treated, but still succumbed to the disease. Our findings provide new insights for a mechanistic understanding of prion replication and support the concept that prion replication can be separated from toxicity, providing a novel target for therapeutic intervention.

  6. Bioinformatic Analysis of Deleterious Non-Synonymous Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (nsSNPs in the Coding Regions of Human Prion Protein Gene (PRNP

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    Kourosh Bamdad

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Background & Objective: Single nucleotide polymorphisms are the cause of genetic variation to living organisms. Single nucleotide polymorphisms alter residues in the protein sequence. In this investigation, the relationship between prion protein gene polymorphisms and its relevance to pathogenicity was studied. Material & Method: Amino acid sequence of the main isoform from the human prion protein gene (PRNP was extracted from UniProt database and evaluated by FoldAmyloid and AmylPred servers. All non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (nsSNPs from SNP database (dbSNP were further analyzed by bioinformatics servers including SIFT, PolyPhen-2, I-Mutant-3.0, PANTHER, SNPs & GO, PHD-SNP, Meta-SNP, and MutPred to determine the most damaging nsSNPs. Results: The results of the first structure analyses by FoldAmyloid and AmylPerd servers implied that regions including 5-15, 174-178, 180-184, 211-217, and 240-252 were the most sensitive parts of the protein sequence to amyloidosis. Screening all nsSNPs of the main protein isoform using bioinformatic servers revealed that substitution of Aspartic acid with Valine at position 178 (ID code: rs11538766 was the most deleterious nsSNP in the protein structure. Conclusion:  Substitution of the Aspartic acid with Valine at position 178 (D178V was the most pathogenic mutation in the human prion protein gene. Analyses from the MutPred server also showed that beta-sheets’ increment in the secondary structure was the main reason behind the molecular mechanism of the prion protein aggregation.

  7. PrionScan: an online database of predicted prion domains in complete proteomes.

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    Espinosa Angarica, Vladimir; Angulo, Alfonso; Giner, Arturo; Losilla, Guillermo; Ventura, Salvador; Sancho, Javier

    2014-02-05

    Prions are a particular type of amyloids related to a large variety of important processes in cells, but also responsible for serious diseases in mammals and humans. The number of experimentally characterized prions is still low and corresponds to a handful of examples in microorganisms and mammals. Prion aggregation is mediated by specific protein domains with a remarkable compositional bias towards glutamine/asparagine and against charged residues and prolines. These compositional features have been used to predict new prion proteins in the genomes of different organisms. Despite these efforts, there are only a few available data sources containing prion predictions at a genomic scale. Here we present PrionScan, a new database of predicted prion-like domains in complete proteomes. We have previously developed a predictive methodology to identify and score prionogenic stretches in protein sequences. In the present work, we exploit this approach to scan all the protein sequences in public databases and compile a repository containing relevant information of proteins bearing prion-like domains. The database is updated regularly alongside UniprotKB and in its present version contains approximately 28000 predictions in proteins from different functional categories in more than 3200 organisms from all the taxonomic subdivisions. PrionScan can be used in two different ways: database query and analysis of protein sequences submitted by the users. In the first mode, simple queries allow to retrieve a detailed description of the properties of a defined protein. Queries can also be combined to generate more complex and specific searching patterns. In the second mode, users can submit and analyze their own sequences. It is expected that this database would provide relevant insights on prion functions and regulation from a genome-wide perspective, allowing researches performing cross-species prion biology studies. Our database might also be useful for guiding experimentalists

  8. Removal process of prion and parvovirus from human platelet lysates used as clinical-grade supplement for ex vivo cell expansion.

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    Kao, Yu-Chun; Bailey, Andy; Samminger, Bernhard; Tanimoto, Junji; Burnouf, Thierry

    2016-07-01

    Pooled human platelet lysate (HPL) is becoming the new gold standard as supplement for ex vivo cell culture for clinical protocols. However, the risk of pathogen contamination of HPL increases with the platelet pool size. We hypothesized that hollow fiber anion exchange membrane chromatography using QyuSpeed D (QSD) could remove resistant and untested bloodborne pathogens, such as parvoviruses and prions, from HPL-supplemented growth media without substantially affecting their capacity to support ex vivo cell expansion. Frozen or thawed platelet concentrates were serum-converted and centrifuged for obtaining HPL that was added to various growth media (ca. 100 mL), filtered through a 0.6-mL QSD membrane and characterized for proteins, growth factors and chemical composition. Capacity to expand Chinese hamster ovary, periodontal ligament, gingival fibroblast cells and Wharton's jelly mesenchymal stromal cells was studied. Removal of porcine parvovirus (PPV) and of the 263K prion strain of hamster-adapted scrapie was studied by spiking experiments following international guidelines. QSD had minimal impact on HPL-supplemented medium composition in proteins, growth factors and chemical content, nor capacity to expand and differentiate cells. In addition, QSD could remove ≥5.58 log10 [TCID50/mL] and ≥3.72 log10 of PPV and the 263K prion, respectively. QSD hollow fiber chromatography can be used to improve the virus and prion safety of HPL-supplemented media to safely expand cells for clinical protocols. These data bring new perspectives for increasingly safer use of pooled HPL in cell therapy and regenerative medicine applications. Copyright © 2016 International Society for Cellular Therapy. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  9. Protease resistance of infectious prions is suppressed by removal of a single atom in the cellular prion protein.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leske, Henning; Hornemann, Simone; Herrmann, Uli Simon; Zhu, Caihong; Dametto, Paolo; Li, Bei; Laferriere, Florent; Polymenidou, Magdalini; Pelczar, Pawel; Reimann, Regina Rose; Schwarz, Petra; Rushing, Elisabeth Jane; Wüthrich, Kurt; Aguzzi, Adriano

    2017-01-01

    Resistance to proteolytic digestion has long been considered a defining trait of prions in tissues of organisms suffering from transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Detection of proteinase K-resistant prion protein (PrPSc) still represents the diagnostic gold standard for prion diseases in humans, sheep and cattle. However, it has become increasingly apparent that the accumulation of PrPSc does not always accompany prion infections: high titers of prion infectivity can be reached also in the absence of protease resistant PrPSc. Here, we describe a structural basis for the phenomenon of protease-sensitive prion infectivity. We studied the effect on proteinase K (PK) resistance of the amino acid substitution Y169F, which removes a single oxygen atom from the β2-α2 loop of the cellular prion protein (PrPC). When infected with RML or the 263K strain of prions, transgenic mice lacking wild-type (wt) PrPC but expressing MoPrP169F generated prion infectivity at levels comparable to wt mice. The newly generated MoPrP169F prions were biologically indistinguishable from those recovered from prion-infected wt mice, and elicited similar pathologies in vivo. Surprisingly, MoPrP169F prions showed greatly reduced PK resistance and density gradient analyses showed a significant reduction in high-density aggregates. Passage of MoPrP169F prions into mice expressing wt MoPrP led to full recovery of protease resistance, indicating that no strain shift had taken place. We conclude that a subtle structural variation in the β2-α2 loop of PrPC affects the sensitivity of PrPSc to protease but does not impact prion replication and infectivity. With these findings a specific structural feature of PrPC can be linked to a physicochemical property of the corresponding PrPSc.

  10. Epigenetic dominance of prion conformers.

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    Eri Saijo

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available Although they share certain biological properties with nucleic acid based infectious agents, prions, the causative agents of invariably fatal, transmissible neurodegenerative disorders such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, sheep scrapie, and human Creutzfeldt Jakob disease, propagate by conformational templating of host encoded proteins. Once thought to be unique to these diseases, this mechanism is now recognized as a ubiquitous means of information transfer in biological systems, including other protein misfolding disorders such as those causing Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. To address the poorly understood mechanism by which host prion protein (PrP primary structures interact with distinct prion conformations to influence pathogenesis, we produced transgenic (Tg mice expressing different sheep scrapie susceptibility alleles, varying only at a single amino acid at PrP residue 136. Tg mice expressing ovine PrP with alanine (A at (OvPrP-A136 infected with SSBP/1 scrapie prions propagated a relatively stable (S prion conformation, which accumulated as punctate aggregates in the brain, and produced prolonged incubation times. In contrast, Tg mice expressing OvPrP with valine (V at 136 (OvPrP-V136 infected with the same prions developed disease rapidly, and the converted prion was comprised of an unstable (U, diffusely distributed conformer. Infected Tg mice co-expressing both alleles manifested properties consistent with the U conformer, suggesting a dominant effect resulting from exclusive conversion of OvPrP-V136 but not OvPrP-A136. Surprisingly, however, studies with monoclonal antibody (mAb PRC5, which discriminates OvPrP-A136 from OvPrP-V136, revealed substantial conversion of OvPrP-A136. Moreover, the resulting OvPrP-A136 prion acquired the characteristics of the U conformer. These results, substantiated by in vitro analyses, indicated that co-expression of OvPrP-V136 altered the conversion potential of OvPrP-A136 from the S to

  11. Guinea Pig Prion Protein Supports Rapid Propagation of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Prions.

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    Watts, Joel C; Giles, Kurt; Saltzberg, Daniel J; Dugger, Brittany N; Patel, Smita; Oehler, Abby; Bhardwaj, Sumita; Sali, Andrej; Prusiner, Stanley B

    2016-11-01

    The biochemical and neuropathological properties of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) prions are faithfully maintained upon transmission to guinea pigs. However, primary and secondary transmissions of BSE and vCJD in guinea pigs result in long incubation periods of ∼450 and ∼350 days, respectively. To determine if the incubation periods of BSE and vCJD prions could be shortened, we generated transgenic (Tg) mice expressing guinea pig prion protein (GPPrP). Inoculation of Tg(GPPrP) mice with BSE and vCJD prions resulted in mean incubation periods of 210 and 199 days, respectively, which shortened to 137 and 122 days upon serial transmission. In contrast, three different isolates of sporadic CJD prions failed to transmit disease to Tg(GPPrP) mice. Many of the strain-specified biochemical and neuropathological properties of BSE and vCJD prions, including the presence of type 2 protease-resistant PrP Sc , were preserved upon propagation in Tg(GPPrP) mice. Structural modeling revealed that two residues near the N-terminal region of α-helix 1 in GPPrP might mediate its susceptibility to BSE and vCJD prions. Our results demonstrate that expression of GPPrP in Tg mice supports the rapid propagation of BSE and vCJD prions and suggest that Tg(GPPrP) mice may serve as a useful paradigm for bioassaying these prion isolates. Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) prions are two of the prion strains most relevant to human health. However, propagating these strains in mice expressing human or bovine prion protein has been difficult because of prolonged incubation periods or inefficient transmission. Here, we show that transgenic mice expressing guinea pig prion protein are fully susceptible to vCJD and BSE prions but not to sporadic CJD prions. Our results suggest that the guinea pig prion protein is a better, more rapid substrate than either bovine or human prion protein for

  12. Prions and lymphoid organs

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    O’Connor, Tracy; Aguzzi, Adriano

    2013-01-01

    Prion colonization of secondary lymphoid organs (SLOs) is a critical step preceding neuroinvasion in prion pathogenesis. Follicular dendritic cells (FDCs), which depend on both tumor necrosis factor receptor 1 (TNFR1) and lymphotoxin β receptor (LTβR) signaling for maintenance, are thought to be the primary sites of prion accumulation in SLOs. However, prion titers in RML-infected TNFR1−/− lymph nodes and rates of neuroinvasion in TNFR1−/− mice remain high despite the absence of mature FDCs. Recently, we discovered that TNFR1-independent prion accumulation in lymph nodes relies on LTβR signaling. Loss of LTβR signaling in TNFR1−/− lymph nodes coincided with the de-differentiation of high endothelial venules (HEVs)—the primary sites of lymphocyte entry into lymph nodes. These findings suggest that HEVs are the sites through which prions initially invade lymph nodes from the bloodstream. Identification of HEVs as entry portals for prions clarifies a number of previous observations concerning peripheral prion pathogenesis. However, a number of questions still remain: What is the mechanism by which prions are taken up by HEVs? Which cells are responsible for delivering prions to lymph nodes? Are HEVs the main entry site for prions into lymph nodes or do alternative routes also exist? These questions and others are considered in this article. PMID:23357827

  13. Prion-based memory of heat stress in yeast.

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    Chernova, Tatiana A; Chernoff, Yury O; Wilkinson, Keith D

    2017-05-04

    Amyloids and amyloid-based prions are self-perpetuating protein aggregates which can spread by converting a normal protein of the same sequence into a prion form. They are associated with diseases in humans and mammals, and control heritable traits in yeast and other fungi. Some amyloids are implicated in biologically beneficial processes. As prion formation generates reproducible memory of a conformational change, prions can be considered as molecular memory devices.  We have demonstrated that in yeast, stress-inducible cytoskeleton-associated protein Lsb2 forms a metastable prion in response to high temperature. This prion promotes conversion of other proteins into prions and can persist in a fraction of cells for a significant number of cell generations after stress, thus maintaining the memory of stress in a population of surviving cells. Acquisition of an amino acid substitution required for Lsb2 to form a prion coincides with acquisition of increased thermotolerance in the evolution of Saccharomyces yeast. Thus the ability to form an Lsb2 prion in response to stress coincides with yeast adaptation to growth at higher temperatures. These findings intimately connect prion formation to the cellular response to environmental stresses.

  14. Efficient prion disease transmission through common environmental materials.

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    Pritzkow, Sandra; Morales, Rodrigo; Lyon, Adam; Concha-Marambio, Luis; Urayama, Akihiko; Soto, Claudio

    2018-03-02

    Prion diseases are a group of fatal neurodegenerative diseases associated with a protein-based infectious agent, termed prion. Compelling evidence suggests that natural transmission of prion diseases is mediated by environmental contamination with infectious prions. We hypothesized that several natural and man-made materials, commonly found in the environments of wild and captive animals, can bind prions and may act as vectors for disease transmission. To test our hypothesis, we exposed surfaces composed of various common environmental materials ( i.e. wood, rocks, plastic, glass, cement, stainless steel, aluminum, and brass) to hamster-adapted 263K scrapie prions and studied their attachment and retention of infectivity in vitro and in vivo Our results indicated that these surfaces, with the sole exception of brass, efficiently bind, retain, and release prions. Prion replication was studied in vitro using the protein misfolding cyclic amplification technology, and infectivity of surface-bound prions was analyzed by intracerebrally challenging hamsters with contaminated implants. Our results revealed that virtually all prion-contaminated materials transmitted the disease at high rates. To investigate a more natural form of exposure to environmental contamination, we simply housed animals with large contaminated spheres made of the different materials under study. Strikingly, most of the hamsters developed classical clinical signs of prion disease and typical disease-associated brain changes. Our findings suggest that prion contamination of surfaces commonly present in the environment can be a source of disease transmission, thus expanding our understanding of the mechanisms for prion spreading in nature. © 2018 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

  15. Inherited prion disease A117V is not simply a proteinopathy but produces prions transmissible to transgenic mice expressing homologous prion protein.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Emmanuel A Asante

    Full Text Available Prions are infectious agents causing fatal neurodegenerative diseases of humans and animals. In humans, these have sporadic, acquired and inherited aetiologies. The inherited prion diseases are caused by one of over 30 coding mutations in the human prion protein (PrP gene (PRNP and many of these generate infectious prions as evidenced by their experimental transmissibility by inoculation to laboratory animals. However, some, and in particular an extensively studied type of Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker syndrome (GSS caused by a PRNP A117V mutation, are thought not to generate infectious prions and instead constitute prion proteinopathies with a quite distinct pathogenetic mechanism. Multiple attempts to transmit A117V GSS have been unsuccessful and typical protease-resistant PrP (PrP(Sc, pathognomonic of prion disease, is not detected in brain. Pathogenesis is instead attributed to production of an aberrant topological form of PrP, C-terminal transmembrane PrP ((CtmPrP. Barriers to transmission of prion strains from one species to another appear to relate to structural compatibility of PrP in host and inoculum and we have therefore produced transgenic mice expressing human 117V PrP. We found that brain tissue from GSS A117V patients did transmit disease to these mice and both the neuropathological features of prion disease and presence of PrP(Sc was demonstrated in the brains of recipient transgenic mice. This PrP(Sc rapidly degraded during laboratory analysis, suggesting that the difficulty in its detection in patients with GSS A117V could relate to post-mortem proteolysis. We conclude that GSS A117V is indeed a prion disease although the relative contributions of (CtmPrP and prion propagation in neurodegeneration and their pathogenetic interaction remains to be established.

  16. Inherited prion disease A117V is not simply a proteinopathy but produces prions transmissible to transgenic mice expressing homologous prion protein.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Asante, Emmanuel A; Linehan, Jacqueline M; Smidak, Michelle; Tomlinson, Andrew; Grimshaw, Andrew; Jeelani, Asif; Jakubcova, Tatiana; Hamdan, Shyma; Powell, Caroline; Brandner, Sebastian; Wadsworth, Jonathan D F; Collinge, John

    2013-01-01

    Prions are infectious agents causing fatal neurodegenerative diseases of humans and animals. In humans, these have sporadic, acquired and inherited aetiologies. The inherited prion diseases are caused by one of over 30 coding mutations in the human prion protein (PrP) gene (PRNP) and many of these generate infectious prions as evidenced by their experimental transmissibility by inoculation to laboratory animals. However, some, and in particular an extensively studied type of Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker syndrome (GSS) caused by a PRNP A117V mutation, are thought not to generate infectious prions and instead constitute prion proteinopathies with a quite distinct pathogenetic mechanism. Multiple attempts to transmit A117V GSS have been unsuccessful and typical protease-resistant PrP (PrP(Sc)), pathognomonic of prion disease, is not detected in brain. Pathogenesis is instead attributed to production of an aberrant topological form of PrP, C-terminal transmembrane PrP ((Ctm)PrP). Barriers to transmission of prion strains from one species to another appear to relate to structural compatibility of PrP in host and inoculum and we have therefore produced transgenic mice expressing human 117V PrP. We found that brain tissue from GSS A117V patients did transmit disease to these mice and both the neuropathological features of prion disease and presence of PrP(Sc) was demonstrated in the brains of recipient transgenic mice. This PrP(Sc) rapidly degraded during laboratory analysis, suggesting that the difficulty in its detection in patients with GSS A117V could relate to post-mortem proteolysis. We conclude that GSS A117V is indeed a prion disease although the relative contributions of (Ctm)PrP and prion propagation in neurodegeneration and their pathogenetic interaction remains to be established.

  17. Advancing prion science: guidance for the National Prion Research Program

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Erdtmann, Rick; Sivitz, Laura

    2004-01-01

    ...€™s National Prion Research Program (NPRP). Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), also called prion diseases, are invariably fatal neurodegenerative infectious diseases that include bovine spongiform encephalopathy...

  18. Toward unfolding the prion misfolding mystery: protein free radical chemistry in transmissible spongiform encephalopathies

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Yang Chiming

    2003-01-01

    Owing to the high oxygen-respiration in the brain of mammals, oxidative damage to prion protein has been suggested to be an additional factor. A large body of intriguing features of scrapie and prion diseases have provided multiple lines of indirect chemistry evidence, suggesting that the infectious agents may be putative forms of sequence-specific prion radicals (SSPR) and/or their immediate precursors in the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE). Here a molecular mechanism corresponding to the self-replication of scrapie protein mediated by prion free-radical processes, consonant with 'protein-only' hypotheses is proposed. This new theory may not only aid our understanding of the occurrence of prions, but also provides new insight into the possible chemistry principles underlying the neutrodegenerative disorders. It is anticipated that future studies based on this suggestion and chemistry principles of genetic diseases may allow us to determine an effective approach to stop mad cow disease and its human version, new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (v CJD)

  19. Interaction of human laminin receptor with Sup35, the [PSI⁺] prion-forming protein from S. cerevisiae: a yeast model for studies of LamR interactions with amyloidogenic proteins.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christine Pampeno

    Full Text Available The laminin receptor (LamR is a cell surface receptor for extracellular matrix laminin, whereas the same protein within the cell interacts with ribosomes, nuclear proteins and cytoskeletal fibers. LamR has been shown to be a receptor for several bacteria and viruses. Furthermore, LamR interacts with both cellular and infectious forms of the prion protein, PrP(C and PrP(Sc. Indeed, LamR is a receptor for PrP(C. Whether LamR interacts with PrP(Sc exclusively in a capacity of the PrP receptor, or LamR specifically recognizes prion determinants of PrP(Sc, is unclear. In order to explore whether LamR has a propensity to interact with prions and amyloids, we examined LamR interaction with the yeast prion-forming protein, Sup35. Sup35 is a translation termination factor with no homology or functional relationship to PrP. Plasmids expressing LamR or LamR fused with the green fluorescent protein (GFP were transformed into yeast strain variants differing by the presence or absence of the prion conformation of Sup35, respectively [PSI⁺] and [psi⁻]. Analyses by immunoprecipitation, centrifugal fractionation and fluorescent microscopy reveal interaction between LamR and Sup35 in [PSI⁺] strains. The presence of [PSI⁺] promotes LamR co-precipitation with Sup35 as well as LamR aggregation. In [PSI⁺] cells, LamR tagged with GFP or mCherry forms bright fluorescent aggregates that co-localize with visible [PSI⁺] foci. The yeast prion model will facilitate studying the interaction of LamR with amyloidogenic prions in a safe and easily manipulated system that may lead to a better understanding and treatment of amyloid diseases.

  20. Correlation of cellular factors and differential scrapie prion permissiveness in ovine microglia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative disorders by which the native cellular prion protein (PrP-C) is misfolded into an accumulating, disease-associated isoform (PrP-D). To improve the understanding of prion pathogenesis and develop effective treatments, it is essential to elucidate factors con...

  1. Chronic wasting disease and atypical forms of bovine spongiform encephalopathy and scrapie are not transmissible to mice expressing wild-type levels of human prion protein.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Rona; Plinston, Chris; Hunter, Nora; Casalone, Cristina; Corona, Cristiano; Tagliavini, Fabrizio; Suardi, Silvia; Ruggerone, Margherita; Moda, Fabio; Graziano, Silvia; Sbriccoli, Marco; Cardone, Franco; Pocchiari, Maurizio; Ingrosso, Loredana; Baron, Thierry; Richt, Juergen; Andreoletti, Olivier; Simmons, Marion; Lockey, Richard; Manson, Jean C; Barron, Rona M

    2012-07-01

    The association between bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) has demonstrated that cattle transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) can pose a risk to human health and raises the possibility that other ruminant TSEs may be transmissible to humans. In recent years, several novel TSEs in sheep, cattle and deer have been described and the risk posed to humans by these agents is currently unknown. In this study, we inoculated two forms of atypical BSE (BASE and H-type BSE), a chronic wasting disease (CWD) isolate and seven isolates of atypical scrapie into gene-targeted transgenic (Tg) mice expressing the human prion protein (PrP). Upon challenge with these ruminant TSEs, gene-targeted Tg mice expressing human PrP did not show any signs of disease pathology. These data strongly suggest the presence of a substantial transmission barrier between these recently identified ruminant TSEs and humans.

  2. Computational Calculation Of The Ionization Energies Of The Human Prion Protein By The Coarse-grain Method

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lyu, Justin; Andrianarijaona, V. M.

    2016-05-01

    The causes of the misfolding of prion protein -i.e. the transformation of PrPC to PrPSc - have not been clearly elucidated. Many studies have focused on identifying possible chemical conditions, such as pH, temperature and chemical denaturation, that may trigger the pathological transformation of prion proteins (Weiwei Tao, Gwonchan Yoon, Penghui Cao, `` β-sheet-like formation during the mechanical unfolding of prion protein'', The Journal of Chemical Physics, 2015, 143, 125101). Here, we attempt to calculate the ionization energies of the prion protein, which will be able to shed light onto the possible causes of the misfolding. We plan on using the coarse-grain method which allows for a more feasible calculation time by means of approximation. We believe that by being able to approximate the ionization potential, particularly that of the regions known to form stable β-strands of the PrPSc form, the possible sources of denaturation, be it chemical or mechanical, may be narrowed down.

  3. Dissociation of recombinant prion autocatalysis from infectivity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Noble, Geoffrey P; Supattapone, Surachai

    2015-01-01

    Within the mammalian prion field, the existence of recombinant prion protein (PrP) conformers with self-replicating (ie. autocatalytic) activity in vitro but little to no infectious activity in vivo challenges a key prediction of the protein-only hypothesis of prion replication--that autocatalytic PrP conformers should be infectious. To understand this dissociation of autocatalysis from infectivity, we recently performed a structural and functional comparison between a highly infectious and non-infectious pair of autocatalytic recombinant PrP conformers derived from the same initial prion strain. (1) We identified restricted, C-terminal structural differences between these 2 conformers and provided evidence that these relatively subtle differences prevent the non-infectious conformer from templating the conversion of native PrP(C) substrates containing a glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchor. (1) In this article we discuss a model, consistent with these findings, in which recombinant PrP, lacking post-translational modifications and associated folding constraints, is capable of adopting a wide variety of autocatalytic conformations. Only a subset of these recombinant conformers can be adopted by post-translationally modified native PrP(C), and this subset represents the recombinant conformers with high specific infectivity. We examine this model's implications for the generation of highly infectious recombinant prions and the protein-only hypothesis of prion replication.

  4. Prion protein induced signaling cascades in monocytes

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Krebs, Bjarne; Dorner-Ciossek, Cornelia; Schmalzbauer, Ruediger; Vassallo, Neville; Herms, Jochen; Kretzschmar, Hans A.

    2006-01-01

    Prion proteins play a central role in transmission and pathogenesis of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. The cellular prion protein (PrP C ), whose physiological function remains elusive, is anchored to the surface of a variety of cell types including neurons and cells of the lymphoreticular system. In this study, we investigated the response of a mouse monocyte/macrophage cell line to exposure with PrP C fusion proteins synthesized with a human Fc-tag. PrP C fusion proteins showed an attachment to the surface of monocyte/macrophages in nanomolar concentrations. This was accompanied by an increase of cellular tyrosine phosphorylation as a result of activated signaling pathways. Detailed investigations exhibited activation of downstream pathways through a stimulation with PrP fusion proteins, which include phosphorylation of ERK 1,2 and Akt kinase. Macrophages opsonize and present antigenic structures, contact lymphocytes, and deliver cytokines. The findings reported here may become the basis of understanding the molecular function of PrP C in monocytes and macrophages

  5. Ultraviolet-ozone treatment reduces levels of disease-associated prion protein and prion infectivity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, C.J.; Gilbert, P.; McKenzie, D.; Pedersen, J.A.; Aiken, Judd M.

    2009-01-01

    Background. Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are a group of fatal neurodegenerative diseases caused by novel infectious agents referred to as prions. Prions appear to be composed primarily, if not exclusively, of a misfolded isoform of the cellular prion protein. TSE infectivity is remarkably stable and can resist many aggressive decontamination procedures, increasing human, livestock and wildlife exposure to TSEs. Findings. We tested the hypothesis that UV-ozone treatment reduces levels of the pathogenic prion protein and inactivates the infectious agent. We found that UV-ozone treatment decreased the carbon and prion protein content in infected brain homogenate to levels undetectable by dry-ashing carbon analysis or immunoblotting, respectively. After 8 weeks of ashing, UV-ozone treatment reduced the infectious titer of treated material by a factor of at least 105. A small amount of infectivity, however, persisted despite UV-ozone treatment. When bound to either montmorillonite clay or quartz surfaces, PrPTSE was still susceptible to degradation by UV-ozone. Conclusion. Our findings strongly suggest that UV-ozone treatment can degrade pathogenic prion protein and inactivate prions, even when the agent is associated with surfaces. Using larger UV-ozone doses or combining UV-ozone treatment with other decontaminant methods may allow the sterilization of TSE-contaminated materials. ?? 2009 Aiken et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

  6. Generic amyloidogenicity of mammalian prion proteins from species susceptible and resistant to prions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nyström, Sofie; Hammarström, Per

    2015-05-11

    Prion diseases are lethal, infectious diseases associated with prion protein (PrP) misfolding. A large number of mammals are susceptible to both sporadic and acquired prion diseases. Although PrP is highly conserved and ubiquitously expressed in all mammals, not all species exhibit prion disease. By employing full length recombinant PrP from five known prion susceptible species (human, cattle, cat, mouse and hamster) and two species considered to be prion resistant (pig and dog) the amyloidogenicity of these PrPs has been delineated. All the mammalian PrPs, even from resistant species, were swiftly converted from the native state to amyloid-like structure when subjected to a native condition conversion assay. The PrPs displayed amyloidotypic tinctorial and ultrastructural hallmarks. Self-seeded conversion of the PrPs displayed significantly decreased lag phases demonstrating that nucleation dependent polymerization is a dominating mechanism in the fibrillation process. Fibrils from Aβ1-40, Aβ1-42, Lysozyme, Insulin and Transthyretin did not accelerate conversion of HuPrP whereas fibrils from HuPrP90-231 and HuPrP121-231 as well as full length PrPs of all PrPs efficiently seeded conversion showing specificity of the assay requiring the C-terminal PrP sequence. Our findings have implications for PrP misfolding and could have ramifications in the context of prion resistant species and silent carriers.

  7. Prion diseases: immunotargets and therapy

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Burchell JT

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available Jennifer T Burchell, Peter K Panegyres Neurodegenerative Disorders Research Pty Ltd, West Perth, Western Australia, Australia Abstract: Transmissible spongiform encephathalopathies or prion diseases are a group of neurological disorders characterized by neuronal loss, spongiform degeneration, and activation of astrocytes or microglia. These diseases affect humans and animals with an extremely high prevalence in some species such as deer and elk in North America. Although rare in humans, they result in a devastatingly swift neurological progression with dementia and ataxia. Patients usually die within a year of diagnosis. Prion diseases are familial, sporadic, iatrogenic, or transmissible. Human prion diseases include Kuru, sporadic, iatrogenic, and familial forms of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, Gerstmann–Sträussler–Scheinker disease, and fatal familial insomnia. The causative agent is a misfolded version of the physiological prion protein called PrPSc in the brain. There are a number of therapeutic options currently under investigation. A number of small molecules have had some success in delaying disease progression in animal models and mixed results in clinical trials, including pentosan polysulfate, quinacrine, and amphotericin B. More promisingly, immunotherapy has reported success in vitro and in vivo in animal studies and clinical trials. The three main branches of immunotherapy research are focus on antibody vaccines, dendritic cell vaccines, and adoptive transfer of physiological prion protein-specific CD4+ T-lymphocytes. Vaccines utilizing antibodies generally target disease-specific epitopes that are only exposed in the misfolded PrPSc conformation. Vaccines utilizing antigen-loaded dendritic cell have the ability to bypass immune tolerance and prime CD4+ cells to initiate an immune response. Adoptive transfer of CD4+ T-cells is another promising target as this cell type can orchestrate the

  8. The effects of glutamine/asparagine content on aggregation and heterologous prion induction by yeast prion-like domains.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shattuck, Jenifer E; Waechter, Aubrey C; Ross, Eric D

    2017-07-04

    Prion-like domains are low complexity, intrinsically disordered domains that compositionally resemble yeast prion domains. Many prion-like domains are involved in the formation of either functional or pathogenic protein aggregates. These aggregates range from highly dynamic liquid droplets to highly ordered detergent-insoluble amyloid-like aggregates. To better understand the amino acid sequence features that promote conversion to stable, detergent-insoluble aggregates, we used the prediction algorithm PAPA to identify predicted aggregation-prone prion-like domains with a range of compositions. While almost all of the predicted aggregation-prone domains formed foci when expressed in cells, the ability to form the detergent-insoluble aggregates was highly correlated with glutamine/asparagine (Q/N) content, suggesting that high Q/N content may specifically promote conversion to the amyloid state in vivo. We then used this data set to examine cross-seeding between prion-like proteins. The prion protein Sup35 requires the presence of a second prion, [PIN + ], to efficiently form prions, but this requirement can be circumvented by the expression of various Q/N-rich protein fragments. Interestingly, almost all of the Q/N-rich domains that formed SDS-insoluble aggregates were able to promote prion formation by Sup35, highlighting the highly promiscuous nature of these interactions.

  9. Structural characterization of POM6 Fab and mouse prion protein complex identifies key regions for prions conformational conversion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baral, Pravas Kumar; Swayampakula, Mridula; Aguzzi, Adriano; James, Michael N G

    2018-05-01

    Conversion of the cellular prion protein PrP C into its pathogenic isoform PrP S c is the hallmark of prion diseases, fatal neurodegenerative diseases affecting many mammalian species including humans. Anti-prion monoclonal antibodies can arrest the progression of prion diseases by stabilizing the cellular form of the prion protein. Here, we present the crystal structure of the POM6 Fab fragment, in complex with the mouse prion protein (moPrP). The prion epitope of POM6 is in close proximity to the epitope recognized by the purportedly toxic antibody fragment, POM1 Fab also complexed with moPrP. The POM6 Fab recognizes a larger binding interface indicating a likely stronger binding compared to POM1. POM6 and POM1 exhibit distinct biological responses. Structural comparisons of the bound mouse prion proteins from the POM6 Fab:moPrP and POM1 Fab:moPrP complexes reveal several key regions of the prion protein that might be involved in initiating mis-folding events. The structural data of moPrP:POM6 Fab complex are available in the PDB under the accession number www.rcsb.org/pdb/search/structidSearch.do?structureId=6AQ7. © 2018 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.

  10. The celecoxib derivatives AR-12 and AR-14 induce autophagy and clear prion-infected cells from prions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abdulrahman, Basant A; Abdelaziz, Dalia; Thapa, Simrika; Lu, Li; Jain, Shubha; Gilch, Sabine; Proniuk, Stefan; Zukiwski, Alexander; Schatzl, Hermann M

    2017-12-14

    Prion diseases are fatal infectious neurodegenerative disorders that affect both humans and animals. The autocatalytic conversion of the cellular prion protein (PrP C ) into the pathologic isoform PrP Sc is a key feature in prion pathogenesis. AR-12 is an IND-approved derivative of celecoxib that demonstrated preclinical activity against several microbial diseases. Recently, AR-12 has been shown to facilitate clearance of misfolded proteins. The latter proposes AR-12 to be a potential therapeutic agent for neurodegenerative disorders. In this study, we investigated the role of AR-12 and its derivatives in controlling prion infection. We tested AR-12 in prion infected neuronal and non-neuronal cell lines. Immunoblotting and confocal microscopy results showed that AR-12 and its analogue AR-14 reduced PrP Sc levels after only 72 hours of treatment. Furthermore, infected cells were cured of PrP Sc after exposure of AR-12 or AR-14 for only two weeks. We partially attribute the influence of the AR compounds on prion propagation to autophagy stimulation, in line with our previous findings that drug-induced stimulation of autophagy has anti-prion effects in vitro and in vivo. Taken together, this study demonstrates that AR-12 and the AR-14 analogue are potential new therapeutic agents for prion diseases and possibly protein misfolding disorders involving prion-like mechanisms.

  11. Machine Understanding of Human Behavior

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pantic, Maja; Pentland, Alex; Nijholt, Antinus; Huang, Thomas

    2007-01-01

    A widely accepted prediction is that computing will move to the background, weaving itself into the fabric of our everyday living spaces and projecting the human user into the foreground. If this prediction is to come true, then next generation computing, which we will call human computing, should

  12. Functional diversification of hsp40: distinct j-protein functional requirements for two prions allow for chaperone-dependent prion selection.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harris, Julia M; Nguyen, Phil P; Patel, Milan J; Sporn, Zachary A; Hines, Justin K

    2014-07-01

    Yeast prions are heritable amyloid aggregates of functional yeast proteins; their propagation to subsequent cell generations is dependent upon fragmentation of prion protein aggregates by molecular chaperone proteins. Mounting evidence indicates the J-protein Sis1 may act as an amyloid specificity factor, recognizing prion and other amyloid aggregates and enabling Ssa and Hsp104 to act in prion fragmentation. Chaperone interactions with prions, however, can be affected by variations in amyloid-core structure resulting in distinct prion variants or 'strains'. Our genetic analysis revealed that Sis1 domain requirements by distinct variants of [PSI+] are strongly dependent upon overall variant stability. Notably, multiple strong [PSI+] variants can be maintained by a minimal construct of Sis1 consisting of only the J-domain and glycine/phenylalanine-rich (G/F) region that was previously shown to be sufficient for cell viability and [RNQ+] prion propagation. In contrast, weak [PSI+] variants are lost under the same conditions but maintained by the expression of an Sis1 construct that lacks only the G/F region and cannot support [RNQ+] propagation, revealing mutually exclusive requirements for Sis1 function between these two prions. Prion loss is not due to [PSI+]-dependent toxicity or dependent upon a particular yeast genetic background. These observations necessitate that Sis1 must have at least two distinct functional roles that individual prions differentially require for propagation and which are localized to the glycine-rich domains of the Sis1. Based on these distinctions, Sis1 plasmid-shuffling in a [PSI+]/[RNQ+] strain permitted J-protein-dependent prion selection for either prion. We also found that, despite an initial report to the contrary, the human homolog of Sis1, Hdj1, is capable of [PSI+] prion propagation in place of Sis1. This conservation of function is also prion-variant dependent, indicating that only one of the two Sis1-prion functions may have

  13. An acoustic prion assay

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gordon Hayward

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available An acoustic prion assay has been demonstrated for sheep brain samples. Only five false positives and no false negatives were observed in a test of 45 positive and 45 negative samples. The acoustic prion sensor was constructed using a thickness shear mode quartz resonator coated with a covalently bound recombinant prion protein. The characteristic indicator of a scrapie infected sheep brain sample was an observed shoulder in the frequency decrease in response to a sample.The response of the sensor aligns with a conformational shift in the surface protein and with the propagation mechanism of the disease. This alignment is evident in the response timing and shape, dependence on concentration, cross species behaviour and impact of blood plasma. This alignment is far from sufficient to prove the mechanism of the sensor but it does offer the possibility of a rapid and inexpensive additional tool to explore prion disease. Keywords: Prions, Thickness shear mode quartz sensor

  14. Thermodynamic Stabilization of the Folded Domain of Prion Protein Inhibits Prion Infection in Vivo

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Qingzhong Kong

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available Prion diseases, or transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs, are associated with the conformational conversion of the cellular prion protein, PrPC, into a protease-resistant form, PrPSc. Here, we show that mutation-induced thermodynamic stabilization of the folded, α-helical domain of PrPC has a dramatic inhibitory effect on the conformational conversion of prion protein in vitro, as well as on the propagation of TSE disease in vivo. Transgenic mice expressing a human prion protein variant with increased thermodynamic stability were found to be much more resistant to infection with the TSE agent than those expressing wild-type human prion protein, in both the primary passage and three subsequent subpassages. These findings not only provide a line of evidence in support of the protein-only model of TSEs but also yield insight into the molecular nature of the PrPC→PrPSc conformational transition, and they suggest an approach to the treatment of prion diseases.

  15. Prions and animal transmissible spongiform encephalopathies

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Juntes Polona

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Background. Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs or prion diseases are a unique group of neurodegenerative diseases of animals and humans, which always have a fatal outcome and are transmissible among animals of the same or different species. Scope and Approach. The aim of this work is to review some recent data about animal TSEs, with the emphasis on their causative agents and zoonotic potential, and to discuss why the surveillance and control measures over animal TSEs should remain in force. Key Findings and Conclusions. We still have incomplete knowledge of prions and prion diseases. Scrapie has been present for a very long time and controlled with varied success. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE emerged unnoticed, and spread within a few years to epidemic proportions, entailing enormous economic consequences and public concerns. Currently, the classical BSE epidemic is under control, but atypical cases do, and probably will, persist in bovine populations. The Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD of the cervids has been spreading in North America and has recently been detected in Europe. Preventive measures for the control of classical BSE remain in force, including the feed ban and removal of specified risk materials. However, active BSE surveillance has considerably decreased. In the absence of such preventive and control measures, atypical BSE cases in healthy slaughtered bovines might persist in the human food chain, and BSE prions might resurface. Moreover, other prion strains might emerge and spread undetected if the appropriate preventive and surveillance measures were to cease, leaving behind inestimable consequences.

  16. Biosafety of Prions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bistaffa, Edoardo; Rossi, Martina; De Luca, Chiara M G; Moda, Fabio

    2017-01-01

    Prions are the infectious agents that cause devastating and untreatable disorders known as Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs). The pathologic events and the infectious nature of these transmissible agents are not completely understood yet. Due to the difficulties in inactivating prions, working with them requires specific recommendations and precautions. Moreover, with the advent of innovative technologies, such as the Protein Misfolding Cyclic Amplification (PMCA) and the Real Time Quaking-Induced Conversion (RT-QuIC), prions could be amplified in vitro and the infectious features of the amplified products need to be carefully assessed. © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  17. Role of Prion Replication in the Strain-dependent Brain Regional Distribution of Prions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hu, Ping Ping; Morales, Rodrigo; Duran-Aniotz, Claudia; Moreno-Gonzalez, Ines; Khan, Uffaf; Soto, Claudio

    2016-06-10

    One intriguing feature of prion diseases is their strain variation. Prion strains are differentiated by the clinical consequences they generate in the host, their biochemical properties, and their potential to infect other animal species. The selective targeting of these agents to specific brain structures have been extensively used to characterize prion strains. However, the molecular basis dictating strain-specific neurotropism are still elusive. In this study, isolated brain structures from animals infected with four hamster prion strains (HY, DY, 139H, and SSLOW) were analyzed for their content of protease-resistant PrP(Sc) Our data show that these strains have different profiles of PrP deposition along the brain. These patterns of accumulation, which were independent of regional PrP(C) production, were not reproduced by in vitro replication when different brain regions were used as substrate for the misfolding-amplification reaction. On the contrary, our results show that in vitro replication efficiency depended exclusively on the amount of PrP(C) present in each part of the brain. Our results suggest that the variable regional distribution of PrP(Sc) in distinct strains is not determined by differences on prion formation, but on other factors or cellular pathways. Our findings may contribute to understand the molecular mechanisms of prion pathogenesis and strain diversity. © 2016 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

  18. Prion diseases and adult neurogenesis: how do prions counteract the brain's endogenous repair machinery?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Relaño-Ginés, Aroa; Lehmann, Sylvain; Crozet, Carole

    2014-01-01

    Scientific advances in stem cell biology and adult neurogenesis have raised the hope that neurodegenerative disorders could benefit from stem cell-based therapy. Adult neurogenesis might be part of the physiological regenerative process, however it might become impaired by the disease's mechanism and therefore contribute to neurodegeneration. In prion disorders this endogenous repair system has rarely been studied. Whether adult neurogenesis plays a role or not in brain repair or in the propagation of prion pathology remains unclear. We have recently investigated the status of adult neural stem cells isolated from prion-infected mice. We were able to show that neural stem cells accumulate and replicate prions thus resulting in an alteration of their neuronal destiny. We also reproduced these results in adult neural stem cells, which were infected in vitro. The fact that endogenous adult neurogenesis could be altered by the accumulation of misfolded prion protein represents another great challenge. Inhibiting prion propagation in these cells would thus help the endogenous neurogenesis to compensate for the injured neuronal system. Moreover, understanding the endogenous modulation of the neurogenesis system would help develop effective neural stem cell-based therapies.

  19. Amyloid cores in prion domains: Key regulators for prion conformational conversion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fernández, María Rosario; Batlle, Cristina; Gil-García, Marcos; Ventura, Salvador

    2017-01-02

    Despite the significant efforts devoted to decipher the particular protein features that encode for a prion or prion-like behavior, they are still poorly understood. The well-characterized yeast prions constitute an ideal model system to address this question, because, in these proteins, the prion activity can be univocally assigned to a specific region of their sequence, known as the prion forming domain (PFD). These PFDs are intrinsically disordered, relatively long and, in many cases, of low complexity, being enriched in glutamine/asparagine residues. Computational analyses have identified a significant number of proteins having similar domains in the human proteome. The compositional bias of these regions plays an important role in the transition of the prions to the amyloid state. However, it is difficult to explain how composition alone can account for the formation of specific contacts that position correctly PFDs and provide the enthalpic force to compensate for the large entropic cost of immobilizing these domains in the initial assemblies. We have hypothesized that short, sequence-specific, amyloid cores embedded in PFDs can perform these functions and, accordingly, act as preferential nucleation centers in both spontaneous and seeded aggregation. We have shown that the implementation of this concept in a prediction algorithm allows to score the prion propensities of putative PFDs with high accuracy. Recently, we have provided experimental evidence for the existence of such amyloid cores in the PFDs of Sup35, Ure2, Swi1, and Mot3 yeast prions. The fibrils formed by these short stretches may recognize and promote the aggregation of the complete proteins inside cells, being thus a promising tool for targeted protein inactivation.

  20. Gene knockout of tau expression does not contribute to the pathogenesis of prion disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lawson, Victoria A; Klemm, Helen M; Welton, Jeremy M; Masters, Colin L; Crouch, Peter; Cappai, Roberto; Ciccotosto, Giuseppe D

    2011-11-01

    Prion diseases or transmissible spongiform encephalopathies are a group of fatal and transmissible disorders affecting the central nervous system of humans and animals. The principal agent of prion disease transmission and pathogenesis is proposed to be an abnormal protease-resistant isoform of the normal cellular prion protein. The microtubule-associated protein tau is elevated in patients with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. To determine whether tau expression contributes to prion disease pathogenesis, tau knockout and control wild-type mice were infected with the M1000 strain of mouse-adapted human prions. Immunohistochemical analysis for total tau expression in prion-infected wild-type mice indicated tau aggregation in the cytoplasm of a subpopulation of neurons in regions associated with spongiform change. Western immunoblot analysis of brain homogenates revealed a decrease in total tau immunoreactivity and epitope-specific changes in tau phosphorylation. No significant difference in incubation period or other disease features were observed between tau knockout and wild-type mice with clinical prion disease. These results demonstrate that, in this model of prion disease, tau does not contribute to the pathogenesis of prion disease and that changes in the tau protein profile observed in mice with clinical prion disease occurs as a consequence of the prion-induced pathogenesis.

  1. Truncated forms of the prion protein PrP demonstrate the need for complexity in prion structure

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wan, William; Stöhr, Jan; Kendall, Amy; Stubbs, Gerald

    2015-09-01

    Self-propagation of aberrant protein folds is the defining characteristic of prions. Knowing the structural basis of self-propagation is essential to understanding prions and their related diseases. Prion rods are amyloid fibrils, but not all amyloids are prions. Prions have been remarkably intractable to structural studies, so many investigators have preferred to work with peptide fragments, particularly in the case of the mammalian prion protein PrP. We compared the structures of a number of fragments of PrP by X-ray fiber diffraction, and found that although all of the peptides adopted amyloid conformations, only the larger fragments adopted conformations that modeled the complexity of self-propagating prions, and even these fragments did not always adopt the PrP structure. It appears that the relatively complex structure of the prion form of PrP is not accessible to short model peptides, and that self-propagation may be tied to a level of structural complexity unobtainable in simple model systems. The larger fragments of PrP, however, are useful to illustrate the phenomenon of deformed templating (heterogeneous seeding), which has important biological consequences.

  2. Truncated forms of the prion protein PrP demonstrate the need for complexity in prion structure.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wan, William; Stöhr, Jan; Kendall, Amy; Stubbs, Gerald

    2015-01-01

    Self-propagation of aberrant protein folds is the defining characteristic of prions. Knowing the structural basis of self-propagation is essential to understanding prions and their related diseases. Prion rods are amyloid fibrils, but not all amyloids are prions. Prions have been remarkably intractable to structural studies, so many investigators have preferred to work with peptide fragments, particularly in the case of the mammalian prion protein PrP. We compared the structures of a number of fragments of PrP by X-ray fiber diffraction, and found that although all of the peptides adopted amyloid conformations, only the larger fragments adopted conformations that modeled the complexity of self-propagating prions, and even these fragments did not always adopt the PrP structure. It appears that the relatively complex structure of the prion form of PrP is not accessible to short model peptides, and that self-propagation may be tied to a level of structural complexity unobtainable in simple model systems. The larger fragments of PrP, however, are useful to illustrate the phenomenon of deformed templating (heterogeneous seeding), which has important biological consequences.

  3. Molecular pathogenesis of sporadic prion diseases in man

    Science.gov (United States)

    Safar, Jiri G.

    2012-01-01

    The yeast, fungal and mammalian prions determine heritable and infectious traits that are encoded in alternative conformations of proteins. They cause lethal sporadic, familial and infectious neurodegenerative conditions in man, including Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker syndrome (GSS), kuru, sporadic fatal insomnia (SFI) and likely variable protease-sensitive prionopathy (VPSPr). The most prevalent of human prion diseases is sporadic (s)CJD. Recent advances in amplification and detection of prions led to considerable optimism that early and possibly preclinical diagnosis and therapy might become a reality. Although several drugs have already been tested in small numbers of sCJD patients, there is no clear evidence of any agent’s efficacy. Therefore, it remains crucial to determine the full spectrum of sCJD prion strains and the conformational features in the pathogenic human prion protein governing replication of sCJD prions. Research in this direction is essential for the rational development of diagnostic as well as therapeutic strategies. Moreover, there is growing recognition that fundamental processes involved in human prion propagation – intercellular induction of protein misfolding and seeded aggregation of misfolded host proteins – are of far wider significance. This insight leads to new avenues of research in the ever-widening spectrum of age-related human neurodegenerative diseases that are caused by protein misfolding and that pose a major challenge for healthcare. PMID:22421210

  4. Inactivation of prion infectivity by ionizing rays

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gominet, M. [Ionisos, ZI les Chatinieres, F01120 Dagneux (France); Vadrot, C.; Austruy, G. [Paris V University, Central Pharmacy of Hospitals, 4 avenue de l' Observatoire, F-75006, Paris (France); Darbord, J.C. [Paris V University, Central Pharmacy of Hospitals, 4 avenue de l' Observatoire, F-75006, Paris (France)], E-mail: darbord@pharmacie.univ-paris5.fr

    2007-11-15

    Inactivation of prion deposits on medical devices or prion contamination in pharmaceutical raw materials is considered as impossible by using gamma irradiation. Early, the guideline WHO/CDS/CSR/APH/2000 has described irradiation as an ineffective process. But, in 2003, S. Miekka et al. noted radiation inactivation of prions in a particular application to purify human albumin, shown by the physical denaturation of the infectious protein (PrP). The aim of our study was to determine the inactivation of prions with a scrapie model (strain C506M3) by irradiating standardised preparations. Results: Gamma irradiation was partially effective, showing a 4-5 log reduction on exposure to 50 kGy. A characteristic effect-dose curve was not observed (25, 50 and 100 kGy), only an increase in the incubation period of the murine disease (229 days with 25 kGy to 290 days with 100 kGy) compared with 170 days without irradiation. Since the inactivation was not a total one, the observed effect is significant. It is proposed that further work be undertaken with the model to investigate the application of gamma radiation known levels of prion contamination.

  5. Inactivation of prion infectivity by ionizing rays

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gominet, M.; Vadrot, C.; Austruy, G.; Darbord, J.C.

    2007-01-01

    Inactivation of prion deposits on medical devices or prion contamination in pharmaceutical raw materials is considered as impossible by using gamma irradiation. Early, the guideline WHO/CDS/CSR/APH/2000 has described irradiation as an ineffective process. But, in 2003, S. Miekka et al. noted radiation inactivation of prions in a particular application to purify human albumin, shown by the physical denaturation of the infectious protein (PrP). The aim of our study was to determine the inactivation of prions with a scrapie model (strain C506M3) by irradiating standardised preparations. Results: Gamma irradiation was partially effective, showing a 4-5 log reduction on exposure to 50 kGy. A characteristic effect-dose curve was not observed (25, 50 and 100 kGy), only an increase in the incubation period of the murine disease (229 days with 25 kGy to 290 days with 100 kGy) compared with 170 days without irradiation. Since the inactivation was not a total one, the observed effect is significant. It is proposed that further work be undertaken with the model to investigate the application of gamma radiation known levels of prion contamination

  6. Ovine recombinant PrP as an inhibitor of ruminant prion propagation in vitro.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Workman, Rob G; Maddison, Ben C; Gough, Kevin C

    2017-07-04

    Prion diseases are fatal and incurable neurodegenerative diseases of humans and animals. Despite years of research, no therapeutic agents have been developed that can effectively manage or reverse disease progression. Recently it has been identified that recombinant prion proteins (rPrP) expressed in bacteria can act as inhibitors of prion replication within the in vitro prion replication system protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA). Here, within PMCA reactions amplifying a range of ruminant prions including distinct Prnp genotypes/host species and distinct prion strains, recombinant ovine VRQ PrP displayed consistent inhibition of prion replication and produced IC50 values of 122 and 171 nM for ovine scrapie and bovine BSE replication, respectively. These findings illustrate the therapeutic potential of rPrPs with distinct TSE diseases.

  7. Scrapie susceptibility-linked polymorphisms modulate the in vitro conversion of sheep prion protein to protease-resistant forms

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bossers, A.; Belt, P.B.G.M.; Raymond, G.J.; Caughey, B.; Vries, de R.; Smits, M.

    1997-01-01

    Prion diseases are natural transmissible neurodegenerative disorders in humans and animals. They are characterized by the accumulation of a protease-resistant scrapie-associated prion protein (PrPSc) of the host-encoded cellular prion protein (PrPC) mainly in the central nervous system.

  8. The Role of the Mammalian Prion Protein in the Control of Sleep

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Amber Roguski

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available Sleep disruption is a prevalent clinical feature in many neurodegenerative disorders, including human prion diseases where it can be the defining dysfunction, as in the case of the “eponymous” fatal familial insomnia, or an early-stage symptom as in certain types of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. It is important to establish the role of the cellular prion protein (PrPC, the key molecule involved in prion pathogenesis, within the sleep-wake system in order to understand fully the mechanisms underlying its contribution to both healthy circadian rhythmicity and sleep dysfunction during disease. Although severe disruption to the circadian rhythm and melatonin release is evident during the pathogenic phases of some prion diseases, untangling whether PrPC plays a role in circadian rhythmicity, as suggested in mice deficient for PrPC expression, is challenging given the lack of basic experimental research. We provide a short review of the small amount of direct literature focused on the role of PrPC in melatonin and circadian rhythm regulation, as well as suggesting mechanisms by which PrPC might exert influence upon noradrenergic and dopaminergic signaling and melatonin synthesis. Future research in this area should focus upon isolating the points of dysfunction within the retino-pineal pathway and further investigate PrPC mediation of pinealocyte GPCR activity.

  9. Patterns of [PSI+] aggregation allow insights into cellular organization of yeast prion aggregates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tyedmers, Jens

    2012-01-01

    The yeast prion phenomenon is very widespread and mounting evidence suggests that it has an impact on cellular regulatory mechanisms related to phenotypic responses to changing environments. Studying the aggregation patterns of prion amyloids during different stages of the prion life cycle is a first key step to understand major principles of how and where cells generate, organize and turn-over prion aggregates. The induction of the [PSI+] state involves the actin cytoskeleton and quality control compartments such as the Insoluble Protein Deposit (IPOD). An initially unstable transitional induction state can be visualized by overexpression of the prion determinant and displays characteristic large ring- and ribbon-shaped aggregates consisting of poorly fragmented bundles of very long prion fibrils. In the mature prion state, the aggregation pattern is characterized by highly fragmented, shorter prion fibrils that form aggregates, which can be visualized through tagging with fluorescent proteins. The number of aggregates formed varies, ranging from a single large aggregate at the IPOD to multiple smaller ones, depending on several parameters discussed. Aggregate units below the resolution of light microscopy that are detectable by fluorescence correlation spectroscopy are in equilibrium with larger aggregates in this stage and can mediate faithful inheritance of the prion state. Loss of the prion state is often characterized by reduced fragmentation of prion fibrils and fewer, larger aggregates. PMID:22449721

  10. Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (Prion Diseases)

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... This research is aimed at determining how abnormal prion proteins lead to disease, at finding better tests ... This research is aimed at determining how abnormal prion proteins lead to disease, at finding better tests ...

  11. The expanding universe of prion diseases.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    2006-03-01

    Full Text Available Prions cause fatal and transmissible neurodegenerative disease. These etiological infectious agents are formed in greater part from a misfolded cell-surface protein called PrP(C. Several mammalian species are affected by the diseases, and in the case of "mad cow disease" (BSE the agent has a tropism for humans, with negative consequences for agribusiness and public health. Unfortunately, the known universe of prion diseases is expanding. At least four novel prion diseases-including human diseases variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD and sporadic fatal insomnia (sFI, bovine amyloidotic spongiform encephalopathy (BASE, and Nor98 of sheep-have been identified in the last ten years, and chronic wasting disease (CWD of North American deer (Odocoileus Specis and Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni is undergoing a dramatic spread across North America. While amplification (BSE and dissemination (CWD, commercial sourcing of cervids from the wild and movement of farmed elk can be attributed to human activity, the origins of emergent prion diseases cannot always be laid at the door of humankind. Instead, the continued appearance of new outbreaks in the form of "sporadic" disease may be an inevitable outcome in a situation where the replicating pathogen is host-encoded.

  12. The expanding universe of prion diseases.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joel C Watts

    2006-03-01

    Full Text Available Prions cause fatal and transmissible neurodegenerative disease. These etiological infectious agents are formed in greater part from a misfolded cell-surface protein called PrP(C. Several mammalian species are affected by the diseases, and in the case of "mad cow disease" (BSE the agent has a tropism for humans, with negative consequences for agribusiness and public health. Unfortunately, the known universe of prion diseases is expanding. At least four novel prion diseases--including human diseases variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD and sporadic fatal insomnia (sFI, bovine amyloidotic spongiform encephalopathy (BASE, and Nor98 of sheep--have been identified in the last ten years, and chronic wasting disease (CWD of North American deer (Odocoileus Specis and Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni is undergoing a dramatic spread across North America. While amplification (BSE and dissemination (CWD, commercial sourcing of cervids from the wild and movement of farmed elk can be attributed to human activity, the origins of emergent prion diseases cannot always be laid at the door of humankind. Instead, the continued appearance of new outbreaks in the form of "sporadic" disease may be an inevitable outcome in a situation where the replicating pathogen is host-encoded.

  13. The expanding universe of prion diseases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Watts, Joel C; Balachandran, Aru; Westaway, David

    2006-03-01

    Prions cause fatal and transmissible neurodegenerative disease. These etiological infectious agents are formed in greater part from a misfolded cell-surface protein called PrP(C). Several mammalian species are affected by the diseases, and in the case of "mad cow disease" (BSE) the agent has a tropism for humans, with negative consequences for agribusiness and public health. Unfortunately, the known universe of prion diseases is expanding. At least four novel prion diseases--including human diseases variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) and sporadic fatal insomnia (sFI), bovine amyloidotic spongiform encephalopathy (BASE), and Nor98 of sheep--have been identified in the last ten years, and chronic wasting disease (CWD) of North American deer (Odocoileus Specis) and Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) is undergoing a dramatic spread across North America. While amplification (BSE) and dissemination (CWD, commercial sourcing of cervids from the wild and movement of farmed elk) can be attributed to human activity, the origins of emergent prion diseases cannot always be laid at the door of humankind. Instead, the continued appearance of new outbreaks in the form of "sporadic" disease may be an inevitable outcome in a situation where the replicating pathogen is host-encoded.

  14. Current understanding of the human microbiome

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gilbert, Jack A.; Blaser, Martin J.; Caporaso, J. Gregory; Jansson, Janet K.; Lynch, Susan V.; Knight, Rob

    2018-04-10

    Our understanding of the link between the human microbiome and disease, including obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis and autism, is rapidly expanding. Improvements in the throughput and accuracy of DNA sequencing of the genomes of microbial communities associated with human samples, complemented by analysis of transcriptomes, proteomes, metabolomes and immunomes, and mechanistic experiments in model systems, have vastly improved our ability to understand the structure and function of the microbiome in both diseased and healthy states. However, many challenges remain. In this Review we focus on studies in humans to describe these challenges, and propose strategies that leverage existing knowledge to move rapidly from correlation to causation, and ultimately to translation.

  15. Understanding the Societal Impact of Humanities Scholarship

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pedersen, David Budtz; Johansson, Lasse Gøhler

    2016-01-01

    in society. An important assumption in this paper is that impact should be studied both from conceptual, qualitative and quantitative perspectives. Any approach that focuses merely on scientific outputs (such as publications or citations) or that relies on purely bibliometric indicators will result...... both quantitative and qualitative tools, the paper argues that we need a better and more comprehensive understanding of the role the humanities as part of a wider web of societal institutions, networks, and agents. Granted that the impact of humanities breakthroughs cannot be located at clearly......The critical problem for understanding the societal impact of humanities scholarship is that we currently have no satisfactory tools for understanding how wider social impacts occur and, by implication, very few guidelines for stimulating a reflexive dialogue about the influence of the humanities...

  16. Understanding human management of automation errors

    Science.gov (United States)

    McBride, Sara E.; Rogers, Wendy A.; Fisk, Arthur D.

    2013-01-01

    Automation has the potential to aid humans with a diverse set of tasks and support overall system performance. Automated systems are not always reliable, and when automation errs, humans must engage in error management, which is the process of detecting, understanding, and correcting errors. However, this process of error management in the context of human-automation interaction is not well understood. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review of the variables that contribute to error management. We examined relevant research in human-automation interaction and human error to identify critical automation, person, task, and emergent variables. We propose a framework for management of automation errors to incorporate and build upon previous models. Further, our analysis highlights variables that may be addressed through design and training to positively influence error management. Additional efforts to understand the error management process will contribute to automation designed and implemented to support safe and effective system performance. PMID:25383042

  17. PrionHome: a database of prions and other sequences relevant to prion phenomena.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Djamel Harbi

    Full Text Available Prions are units of propagation of an altered state of a protein or proteins; prions can propagate from organism to organism, through cooption of other protein copies. Prions contain no necessary nucleic acids, and are important both as both pathogenic agents, and as a potential force in epigenetic phenomena. The original prions were derived from a misfolded form of the mammalian Prion Protein PrP. Infection by these prions causes neurodegenerative diseases. Other prions cause non-Mendelian inheritance in budding yeast, and sometimes act as diseases of yeast. We report the bioinformatic construction of the PrionHome, a database of >2000 prion-related sequences. The data was collated from various public and private resources and filtered for redundancy. The data was then processed according to a transparent classification system of prionogenic sequences (i.e., sequences that can make prions, prionoids (i.e., proteins that propagate like prions between individual cells, and other prion-related phenomena. There are eight PrionHome classifications for sequences. The first four classifications are derived from experimental observations: prionogenic sequences, prionoids, other prion-related phenomena, and prion interactors. The second four classifications are derived from sequence analysis: orthologs, paralogs, pseudogenes, and candidate-prionogenic sequences. Database entries list: supporting information for PrionHome classifications, prion-determinant areas (where relevant, and disordered and compositionally-biased regions. Also included are literature references for the PrionHome classifications, transcripts and genomic coordinates, and structural data (including comparative models made for the PrionHome from manually curated alignments. We provide database usage examples for both vertebrate and fungal prion contexts. Using the database data, we have performed a detailed analysis of the compositional biases in known budding-yeast prionogenic

  18. PrionHome: a database of prions and other sequences relevant to prion phenomena.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harbi, Djamel; Parthiban, Marimuthu; Gendoo, Deena M A; Ehsani, Sepehr; Kumar, Manish; Schmitt-Ulms, Gerold; Sowdhamini, Ramanathan; Harrison, Paul M

    2012-01-01

    Prions are units of propagation of an altered state of a protein or proteins; prions can propagate from organism to organism, through cooption of other protein copies. Prions contain no necessary nucleic acids, and are important both as both pathogenic agents, and as a potential force in epigenetic phenomena. The original prions were derived from a misfolded form of the mammalian Prion Protein PrP. Infection by these prions causes neurodegenerative diseases. Other prions cause non-Mendelian inheritance in budding yeast, and sometimes act as diseases of yeast. We report the bioinformatic construction of the PrionHome, a database of >2000 prion-related sequences. The data was collated from various public and private resources and filtered for redundancy. The data was then processed according to a transparent classification system of prionogenic sequences (i.e., sequences that can make prions), prionoids (i.e., proteins that propagate like prions between individual cells), and other prion-related phenomena. There are eight PrionHome classifications for sequences. The first four classifications are derived from experimental observations: prionogenic sequences, prionoids, other prion-related phenomena, and prion interactors. The second four classifications are derived from sequence analysis: orthologs, paralogs, pseudogenes, and candidate-prionogenic sequences. Database entries list: supporting information for PrionHome classifications, prion-determinant areas (where relevant), and disordered and compositionally-biased regions. Also included are literature references for the PrionHome classifications, transcripts and genomic coordinates, and structural data (including comparative models made for the PrionHome from manually curated alignments). We provide database usage examples for both vertebrate and fungal prion contexts. Using the database data, we have performed a detailed analysis of the compositional biases in known budding-yeast prionogenic sequences, showing

  19. Persistence of pathogenic prion protein during simulated wastewater treatment processes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hinckley, G.T.; Johnson, C.J.; Jacobson, K.H.; Bartholomay, C.; Mcmahon, K.D.; McKenzie, D.; Aiken, Judd M.; Pedersen, J.A.

    2008-01-01

    Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs, prion diseases) are a class of fatal neurodegenerative diseases affecting a variety of mammalian species including humans. A misfolded form of the prion protein (PrP TSE) is the major, if not sole, component of the infectious agent. Prions are highly resistant to degradation and to many disinfection procedures suggesting that, if prions enter wastewater treatment systems through sewers and/or septic systems (e.g., from slaughterhouses, necropsy laboratories, rural meat processors, private game dressing) or through leachate from landfills that have received TSE-contaminated material, prions could survive conventional wastewater treatment Here, we report the results of experiments examining the partitioning and persistence of PrPTSE during simulated wastewater treatment processes including activated and mesophilic anaerobic sludge digestion. Incubation with activated sludge did not result in significant PrPTSE degradation. PrPTSE and prion infectivity partitioned strongly to activated sludge solids and are expected to enter biosolids treatment processes. A large fraction of PrPTSE survived simulated mesophilic anaerobic sludge digestion. The small reduction in recoverable PrPTSE after 20-d anaerobic sludge digestion appeared attributable to a combination of declining extractability with time and microbial degradation. Our results suggest that if prions were to enter municipal wastewater treatment systems, most would partition to activated sludge solids, survive mesophilic anaerobic digestion, and be present in treated biosolids. ?? 2008 American Chemical Society.

  20. Estimating Prion Adsorption Capacity of Soil by BioAssay of Subtracted Infectivity from Complex Solutions (BASICS)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wyckoff, A. Christy; Lockwood, Krista L.; Meyerett-Reid, Crystal; Michel, Brady A.; Bender, Heather; VerCauteren, Kurt C.; Zabel, Mark D.

    2013-01-01

    Prions, the infectious agent of scrapie, chronic wasting disease and other transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, are misfolded proteins that are highly stable and resistant to degradation. Prions are known to associate with clay and other soil components, enhancing their persistence and surprisingly, transmissibility. Currently, few detection and quantification methods exist for prions in soil, hindering an understanding of prion persistence and infectivity in the environment. Variability in apparent infectious titers of prions when bound to soil has complicated attempts to quantify the binding capacity of soil for prion infectivity. Here, we quantify the prion adsorption capacity of whole, sandy loam soil (SLS) typically found in CWD endemic areas in Colorado; and purified montmorillonite clay (Mte), previously shown to bind prions, by BioAssay of Subtracted Infectivity in Complex Solutions (BASICS). We incubated prion positive 10% brain homogenate from terminally sick mice infected with the Rocky Mountain Lab strain of mouse-adapted prions (RML) with 10% SLS or Mte. After 24 hours samples were centrifuged five minutes at 200×g and soil-free supernatant was intracerebrally inoculated into prion susceptible indicator mice. We used the number of days post inoculation to clinical disease to calculate the infectious titer remaining in the supernatant, which we subtracted from the starting titer to determine the infectious prion binding capacity of SLS and Mte. BASICS indicated SLS bound and removed ≥ 95% of infectivity. Mte bound and removed lethal doses (99.98%) of prions from inocula, effectively preventing disease in the mice. Our data reveal significant prion-binding capacity of soil and the utility of BASICS to estimate prion loads and investigate persistence and decomposition in the environment. Additionally, since Mte successfully rescued the mice from prion disease, Mte might be used for remediation and decontamination protocols. PMID:23484043

  1. Spontaneous generation of rapidly transmissible prions in transgenic mice expressing wild-type bank vole prion protein.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Watts, Joel C; Giles, Kurt; Stöhr, Jan; Oehler, Abby; Bhardwaj, Sumita; Grillo, Sunny K; Patel, Smita; DeArmond, Stephen J; Prusiner, Stanley B

    2012-02-28

    Currently, there are no animal models of the most common human prion disorder, sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), in which prions are formed spontaneously from wild-type (WT) prion protein (PrP). Interestingly, bank voles (BV) exhibit an unprecedented promiscuity for diverse prion isolates, arguing that bank vole PrP (BVPrP) may be inherently prone to adopting misfolded conformations. Therefore, we constructed transgenic (Tg) mice expressing WT BVPrP. Tg(BVPrP) mice developed spontaneous CNS dysfunction between 108 and 340 d of age and recapitulated the hallmarks of prion disease, including spongiform degeneration, pronounced astrogliosis, and deposition of alternatively folded PrP in the brain. Brain homogenates of ill Tg(BVPrP) mice transmitted disease to Tg(BVPrP) mice in ∼35 d, to Tg mice overexpressing mouse PrP in under 100 d, and to WT mice in ∼185 d. Our studies demonstrate experimentally that WT PrP can spontaneously form infectious prions in vivo. Thus, Tg(BVPrP) mice may be useful for studying the spontaneous formation of prions, and thus may provide insight into the etiology of sporadic CJD.

  2. The non-octarepeat copper binding site of the prion protein is a key regulator of prion conversion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giachin, Gabriele; Mai, Phuong Thao; Tran, Thanh Hoa; Salzano, Giulia; Benetti, Federico; Migliorati, Valentina; Arcovito, Alessandro; Longa, Stefano Della; Mancini, Giordano; D'Angelo, Paola; Legname, Giuseppe

    2015-10-01

    The conversion of the prion protein (PrPC) into prions plays a key role in transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Despite the importance for pathogenesis, the mechanism of prion formation has escaped detailed characterization due to the insoluble nature of prions. PrPC interacts with copper through octarepeat and non-octarepeat binding sites. Copper coordination to the non-octarepeat region has garnered interest due to the possibility that this interaction may impact prion conversion. We used X-ray absorption spectroscopy to study copper coordination at pH 5.5 and 7.0 in human PrPC constructs, either wild-type (WT) or carrying pathological mutations. We show that mutations and pH cause modifications of copper coordination in the non-octarepeat region. In the WT at pH 5.5, copper is anchored to His96 and His111, while at pH 7 it is coordinated by His111. Pathological point mutations alter the copper coordination at acidic conditions where the metal is anchored to His111. By using in vitro approaches, cell-based and computational techniques, we propose a model whereby PrPC coordinating copper with one His in the non-octarepeat region converts to prions at acidic condition. Thus, the non-octarepeat region may act as the long-sought-after prion switch, critical for disease onset and propagation.

  3. Incunabular Immunological Events in Prion Trafficking

    Science.gov (United States)

    Michel, Brady; Meyerett-Reid, Crystal; Johnson, Theodore; Ferguson, Adam; Wyckoff, Christy; Pulford, Bruce; Bender, Heather; Avery, Anne; Telling, Glenn; Dow, Steven; Zabel, Mark D.

    2012-01-01

    While prions probably interact with the innate immune system immediately following infection, little is known about this initial confrontation. Here we investigated incunabular events in lymphotropic and intranodal prion trafficking by following highly enriched, fluorescent prions from infection sites to draining lymph nodes. We detected biphasic lymphotropic transport of prions from the initial entry site upon peripheral prion inoculation. Prions arrived in draining lymph nodes cell autonomously within two hours of intraperitoneal administration. Monocytes and dendritic cells (DCs) required Complement for optimal prion delivery to lymph nodes hours later in a second wave of prion trafficking. B cells constituted the majority of prion-bearing cells in the mediastinal lymph node by six hours, indicating intranodal prion reception from resident DCs or subcapsulary sinus macrophages or directly from follicular conduits. These data reveal novel, cell autonomous prion lymphotropism, and a prominent role for B cells in intranodal prion movement. PMID:22679554

  4. Understanding Usability Work as a Human Activity

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nørgaard, Mie

    Three core themes are explored in eight papers: Usability work as a human activity, usability practice and methods, and persuasiveness of evaluation results and feedback. We explore how usability work is much more than methods and work procedures, and argue that maturing our understanding...

  5. Molecular modeling of the conformational dynamics of the cellular prion protein

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nguyen, Charles; Colling, Ian; Bartz, Jason; Soto, Patricia

    2014-03-01

    Prions are infectious agents responsible for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), a type of fatal neurodegenerative disease in mammals. Prions propagate biological information by conversion of the non-pathological version of the prion protein to the infectious conformation, PrPSc. A wealth of knowledge has shed light on the nature and mechanism of prion protein conversion. In spite of the significance of this problem, we are far from fully understanding the conformational dynamics of the cellular isoform. To remedy this situation we employ multiple biomolecular modeling techniques such as docking and molecular dynamics simulations to map the free energy landscape and determine what specific regions of the prion protein are most conductive to binding. The overall goal is to characterize the conformational dynamics of the cell form of the prion protein, PrPc, to gain insight into inhibition pathways against misfolding. NE EPSCoR FIRST Award to Patricia Soto.

  6. Current and future molecular diagnostics for prion diseases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lehto, Marty T; Peery, Harry E; Cashman, Neil R

    2006-07-01

    It is now widely held that the infectious agents underlying the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies are prions, which are primarily composed of a misfolded, protease-resistant isoform of the host prion protein. Untreatable prion disorders include some human diseases, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and diseases of economically important animals, such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (cattle) and chronic wasting disease (deer and elk). Detection and diagnosis of prion disease (and presymptomatic incubation) is contingent upon developing novel assays, which exploit properties uniquely possessed by this misfolded protein complex, rather than targeting an agent-specific nucleic acid. This review highlights some of the conventional and disruptive technologies developed to respond to this challenge.

  7. Repetitive immunization enhances the susceptibility of mice to peripherally administered prions.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Juliane Bremer

    Full Text Available The susceptibility of humans and animals to prion infections is determined by the virulence of the infectious agent, by genetic modifiers, and by hitherto unknown host and environmental risk factors. While little is known about the latter two, the activation state of the immune system was surmised to influence prion susceptibility. Here we administered prions to mice that were repeatedly immunized by two initial injections of CpG oligodeoxynucleotides followed by repeated injections of bovine serum albumin/alum. Immunization greatly reduced the required dosage of peripherally administered prion inoculum necessary to induce scrapie in 50% of mice. No difference in susceptibility was observed following intracerebral prion challenge. Due to its profound impact onto scrapie susceptibility, the host immune status may determine disease penetrance after low-dose prion exposure, including those that may give rise to iatrogenic and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

  8. Generating Bona Fide Mammalian Prions with Internal Deletions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Munoz-Montesino, Carola; Sizun, Christina; Moudjou, Mohammed; Herzog, Laetitia; Reine, Fabienne; Chapuis, Jérôme; Ciric, Danica; Igel-Egalon, Angelique; Laude, Hubert; Béringue, Vincent; Rezaei, Human; Dron, Michel

    2016-08-01

    Mammalian prions are PrP proteins with altered structures causing transmissible fatal neurodegenerative diseases. They are self-perpetuating through formation of beta-sheet-rich assemblies that seed conformational change of cellular PrP. Pathological PrP usually forms an insoluble protease-resistant core exhibiting beta-sheet structures but no more alpha-helical content, loosing the three alpha-helices contained in the correctly folded PrP. The lack of a high-resolution prion structure makes it difficult to understand the dynamics of conversion and to identify elements of the protein involved in this process. To determine whether completeness of residues within the protease-resistant domain is required for prions, we performed serial deletions in the helix H2 C terminus of ovine PrP, since this region has previously shown some tolerance to sequence changes without preventing prion replication. Deletions of either four or five residues essentially preserved the overall PrP structure and mutant PrP expressed in RK13 cells were efficiently converted into bona fide prions upon challenge by three different prion strains. Remarkably, deletions in PrP facilitated the replication of two strains that otherwise do not replicate in this cellular context. Prions with internal deletion were self-propagating and de novo infectious for naive homologous and wild-type PrP-expressing cells. Moreover, they caused transmissible spongiform encephalopathies in mice, with similar biochemical signatures and neuropathologies other than the original strains. Prion convertibility and transfer of strain-specific information are thus preserved despite shortening of an alpha-helix in PrP and removal of residues within prions. These findings provide new insights into sequence/structure/infectivity relationship for prions. Prions are misfolded PrP proteins that convert the normal protein into a replicate of their own abnormal form. They are responsible for invariably fatal neurodegenerative

  9. Disease Transmission by Misfolded Prion-Protein Isoforms, Prion-Like Amyloids, Functional Amyloids and the Central Dogma.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Daus, Martin L

    2016-01-04

    In 1982, the term "prions" (proteinaceous infectious particles) was coined to specify a new principle of infection. A misfolded isoform of a cellular protein has been described as the causative agent of a fatal neurodegenerative disease. At the beginning of prion research scientists assumed that the infectious agent causing transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) was a virus, but some unconventional properties of these pathogens were difficult to bring in line with the prevailing viral model. The discovery that prions (obviously devoid of any coding nucleic acid) can store and transmit information similarly to DNA was initially even denoted as being "heretical" but is nowadays mainly accepted by the scientific community. This review describes, from a historical point of view, how the "protein-only hypothesis" expands the Central Dogma. Definition of both, the prion principle and the Central Dogma, have been essential steps to understand information storage and transfer within and among cells and organisms. Furthermore, the current understanding of the infectivity of prion-proteins after misfolding is summarized succinctly. Finally, prion-like amyloids and functional amyloids, as found in yeast and bacteria, will be discussed.

  10. Mouse models for understanding human developmental anomalies

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Generoso, W.M.

    1989-01-01

    The mouse experimental system presents an opportunity for studying the nature of the underlying mutagenic damage and the molecular pathogenesis of this class of anomalies by virtue of the accessibility of the zygote and its descendant blastomeres. Such studies could contribute to the understanding of the etiology of certain sporadic but common human malformations. The vulnerability of the zygotes to mutagens as demonstrated in the studies described in this report should be a major consideration in chemical safety evaluation. It raises questions regarding the danger to human zygotes when the mother is exposed to drugs and environmental chemicals

  11. NMR experiments for resonance assignments of 13C, 15N doubly-labeled flexible polypeptides: Application to the human prion protein hPrP(23-230)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Liu Aizhuo; Riek, Roland; Wider, Gerhard; Schroetter, Christine von; Zahn, Ralph; Wuethrich, Kurt

    2000-01-01

    A combination of three heteronuclear three-dimensional NMR experiments tailored for sequential resonance assignments in uniformly 15 N, 13 C-labeled flexible polypeptide chains is described. The 3D (H)N(CO-TOCSY)NH, 3D (H)CA(CO-TOCSY)NH and 3D (H)CBCA(CO-TOCSY)NH schemes make use of the favorable 15 N chemical shift dispersion in unfolded polypeptides, exploit the slow transverse 15 N relaxation rates of unfolded polypeptides in high resolution constant-time [ 1 H, 15 N]-correlation experiments, and use carbonyl carbon homonuclear isotropic mixing to transfer magnetization sequentially along the amino acid sequence. Practical applications are demonstrated with the 100-residue flexible tail of the recombinant human prion protein, making use of spectral resolution up to 0.6 Hz in the 15 N dimension, simultaneous correlation with the two adjacent amino acid residues to overcome problems associated with spectral overlap, and the potential of the presently described experiments to establish nearest-neighbor correlations across proline residues in the amino acid sequence

  12. TDP-43 or FUS-induced misfolded human wild-type SOD1 can propagate intercellularly in a prion-like fashion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pokrishevsky, Edward; Grad, Leslie I; Cashman, Neil R

    2016-03-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which appears to spread through the neuroaxis in a spatiotemporally restricted manner, is linked to heritable mutations in genes encoding SOD1, TDP-43, FUS, C9ORF72, or can occur sporadically without recognized genetic mutations. Misfolded human wild-type (HuWt) SOD1 has been detected in both familial and sporadic ALS patients, despite mutations in SOD1 accounting for only 2% of total cases. We previously showed that accumulation of pathological TDP-43 or FUS coexist with misfolded HuWtSOD1 in patient motor neurons, and can trigger its misfolding in cultured cells. Here, we used immunocytochemistry and immunoprecipitation to demonstrate that TDP-43 or FUS-induced misfolded HuWtSOD1 can propagate from cell-to-cell via conditioned media, and seed cytotoxic misfolding of endogenous HuWtSOD1 in the recipient cells in a prion-like fashion. Knockdown of SOD1 using siRNA in recipient cells, or incubation of conditioned media with misfolded SOD1-specific antibodies, inhibits intercellular transmission, indicating that HuWtSOD1 is an obligate seed and substrate of propagated misfolding. In this system, intercellular spread of SOD1 misfolding is not accompanied by transmission of TDP-43 or FUS pathology. Our findings argue that pathological TDP-43 and FUS may exert motor neuron pathology in ALS through the initiation of propagated misfolding of SOD1.

  13. Effects of a naturally occurring amino acid substitution in bovine PrP: a model for inherited prion disease in a natural host species

    Science.gov (United States)

    The most common hereditary prion disease is human Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) associated with a mutation in the prion gene (PRNP) resulting in a glutamic acid to lysine substitution at position 200 (E200K) in the prion protein. Models of E200K CJD in transgenic mice have proven interesting but h...

  14. Genes contributing to prion pathogenesis

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Tamgüney, Gültekin; Giles, Kurt; Glidden, David V

    2008-01-01

    incubation times, indicating that the conversion reaction may be influenced by other gene products. To identify genes that contribute to prion pathogenesis, we analysed incubation times of prions in mice in which the gene product was inactivated, knocked out or overexpressed. We tested 20 candidate genes...... show that many genes previously implicated in prion replication have no discernible effect on the pathogenesis of prion disease. While most genes tested did not significantly affect survival times, ablation of the amyloid beta (A4) precursor protein (App) or interleukin-1 receptor, type I (Il1r1...

  15. Strain-dependent profile of misfolded prion protein aggregates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morales, Rodrigo; Hu, Ping Ping; Duran-Aniotz, Claudia; Moda, Fabio; Diaz-Espinoza, Rodrigo; Chen, Baian; Bravo-Alegria, Javiera; Makarava, Natallia; Baskakov, Ilia V; Soto, Claudio

    2016-02-15

    Prions are composed of the misfolded prion protein (PrP(Sc)) organized in a variety of aggregates. An important question in the prion field has been to determine the identity of functional PrP(Sc) aggregates. In this study, we used equilibrium sedimentation in sucrose density gradients to separate PrP(Sc) aggregates from three hamster prion strains (Hyper, Drowsy, SSLOW) subjected to minimal manipulations. We show that PrP(Sc) aggregates distribute in a wide range of arrangements and the relative proportion of each species depends on the prion strain. We observed a direct correlation between the density of the predominant PrP(Sc) aggregates and the incubation periods for the strains studied. The relative presence of PrP(Sc) in fractions of different sucrose densities was indicative of the protein deposits present in the brain as analyzed by histology. Interestingly, no association was found between sensitivity to proteolytic degradation and aggregation profiles. Therefore, the organization of PrP molecules in terms of the density of aggregates generated may determine some of the particular strain properties, whereas others are independent from it. Our findings may contribute to understand the mechanisms of strain variation and the role of PrP(Sc) aggregates in prion-induced neurodegeneration.

  16. Cholesterol Balance in Prion Diseases and Alzheimer’s Disease

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hannaoui, Samia; Shim, Su Yeon; Cheng, Yo Ching; Corda, Erica; Gilch, Sabine

    2014-01-01

    Prion diseases are transmissible and fatal neurodegenerative disorders of humans and animals. They are characterized by the accumulation of PrPSc, an aberrantly folded isoform of the cellular prion protein PrPC, in the brains of affected individuals. PrPC is a cell surface glycoprotein attached to the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane by a glycosyl-phosphatidyl-inositol (GPI) anchor. Specifically, it is associated with lipid rafts, membrane microdomains enriched in cholesterol and sphinoglipids. It has been established that inhibition of endogenous cholesterol synthesis disturbs lipid raft association of PrPC and prevents PrPSc accumulation in neuronal cells. Additionally, prion conversion is reduced upon interference with cellular cholesterol uptake, endosomal export, or complexation at the plasma membrane. Altogether, these results demonstrate on the one hand the importance of cholesterol for prion propagation. On the other hand, growing evidence suggests that prion infection modulates neuronal cholesterol metabolism. Similar results were reported in Alzheimer’s disease (AD): whereas amyloid β peptide formation is influenced by cellular cholesterol, levels of cholesterol in the brains of affected individuals increase during the clinical course of the disease. In this review, we summarize commonalities of alterations in cholesterol homeostasis and discuss consequences for neuronal function and therapy of prion diseases and AD. PMID:25419621

  17. Cholesterol Balance in Prion Diseases and Alzheimer’s Disease

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Samia Hannaoui

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available Prion diseases are transmissible and fatal neurodegenerative disorders of humans and animals. They are characterized by the accumulation of PrPSc, an aberrantly folded isoform of the cellular prion protein PrPC, in the brains of affected individuals. PrPC is a cell surface glycoprotein attached to the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane by a glycosyl-phosphatidyl-inositol (GPI anchor. Specifically, it is associated with lipid rafts, membrane microdomains enriched in cholesterol and sphinoglipids. It has been established that inhibition of endogenous cholesterol synthesis disturbs lipid raft association of PrPC and prevents PrPSc accumulation in neuronal cells. Additionally, prion conversion is reduced upon interference with cellular cholesterol uptake, endosomal export, or complexation at the plasma membrane. Altogether, these results demonstrate on the one hand the importance of cholesterol for prion propagation. On the other hand, growing evidence suggests that prion infection modulates neuronal cholesterol metabolism. Similar results were reported in Alzheimer’s disease (AD: whereas amyloid β peptide formation is influenced by cellular cholesterol, levels of cholesterol in the brains of affected individuals increase during the clinical course of the disease. In this review, we summarize commonalities of alterations in cholesterol homeostasis and discuss consequences for neuronal function and therapy of prion diseases and AD.

  18. Animal models for testing anti-prion drugs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fernández-Borges, Natalia; Elezgarai, Saioa R; Eraña, Hasier; Castilla, Joaquín

    2013-01-01

    Prion diseases belong to a group of fatal infectious diseases with no effective therapies available. Throughout the last 35 years, less than 50 different drugs have been tested in different experimental animal models without hopeful results. An important limitation when searching for new drugs is the existence of appropriate models of the disease. The three different possible origins of prion diseases require the existence of different animal models for testing anti-prion compounds. Wild type, over-expressing transgenic mice and other more sophisticated animal models have been used to evaluate a diversity of compounds which some of them were previously tested in different in vitro experimental models. The complexity of prion diseases will require more pre-screening studies, reliable sporadic (or spontaneous) animal models and accurate chemical modifications of the selected compounds before having an effective therapy against human prion diseases. This review is intended to put on display the more relevant animal models that have been used in the search of new antiprion therapies and describe some possible procedures when handling chemical compounds presumed to have anti-prion activity prior to testing them in animal models.

  19. A bovine cell line that can be infected by natural sheep scrapie prions.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anja M Oelschlegel

    Full Text Available Cell culture systems represent a crucial part in basic prion research; yet, cell lines that are susceptible to prions, especially to field isolated prions that were not adapted to rodents, are very rare. The purpose of this study was to identify and characterize a cell line that was susceptible to ruminant-derived prions and to establish a stable prion infection within it. Based on species and tissue of origin as well as PrP expression rate, we pre-selected a total of 33 cell lines that were then challenged with natural and with mouse propagated BSE or scrapie inocula. Here, we report the successful infection of a non-transgenic bovine cell line, a sub-line of the bovine kidney cell line MDBK, with natural sheep scrapie prions. This cell line retained the scrapie infection for more than 200 passages. Selective cloning resulted in cell populations with increased accumulation of PrPres, although this treatment was not mandatory for retaining the infection. The infection remained stable, even under suboptimal culture conditions. The resulting infectivity of the cells was confirmed by mouse bioassay (Tgbov mice, Tgshp mice. We believe that PES cells used together with other prion permissive cell lines will prove a valuable tool for ongoing efforts to understand and defeat prions and prion diseases.

  20. Hsp40 function in yeast prion propagation: Amyloid diversity necessitates chaperone functional complexity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sporn, Zachary A; Hines, Justin K

    2015-01-01

    Yeast prions are heritable protein-based elements, most of which are formed of amyloid aggregates that rely on the action of molecular chaperones for transmission to progeny. Prions can form distinct amyloid structures, known as 'strains' in mammalian systems, that dictate both pathological progression and cross-species infection barriers. In yeast these same amyloid structural polymorphisms, called 'variants', dictate the intensity of prion-associated phenotypes and stability in mitosis. We recently reported that [PSI(+)] prion variants differ in the fundamental domain requirements for one chaperone, the Hsp40/J-protein Sis1, which are mutually exclusive between 2 different yeast prions, demonstrating a functional plurality for Sis1. Here we extend that analysis to incorporate additional data that collectively support the hypothesis that Sis1 has multiple functional roles that can be accomplished by distinct sets of domains. These functions are differentially required by distinct prions and prion variants. We also present new data regarding Hsp104-mediated prion elimination and show that some Sis1 functions, but not all, are conserved in the human homolog Hdj1/DNAJB1. Importantly, of the 10 amyloid-based prions indentified to date in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the chaperone requirements of only 4 are known, leaving a great diversity of amyloid structures, and likely modes of amyloid-chaperone interaction, largely unexplored.

  1. Animal and human models to understand ageing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lees, Hayley; Walters, Hannah; Cox, Lynne S

    2016-11-01

    Human ageing is the gradual decline in organ and tissue function with increasing chronological time, leading eventually to loss of function and death. To study the processes involved over research-relevant timescales requires the use of accessible model systems that share significant similarities with humans. In this review, we assess the usefulness of various models, including unicellular yeasts, invertebrate worms and flies, mice and primates including humans, and highlight the benefits and possible drawbacks of each model system in its ability to illuminate human ageing mechanisms. We describe the strong evolutionary conservation of molecular pathways that govern cell responses to extracellular and intracellular signals and which are strongly implicated in ageing. Such pathways centre around insulin-like growth factor signalling and integration of stress and nutritional signals through mTOR kinase. The process of cellular senescence is evaluated as a possible underlying cause for many of the frailties and diseases of human ageing. Also considered is ageing arising from systemic changes that cannot be modelled in lower organisms and instead require studies either in small mammals or in primates. We also touch briefly on novel therapeutic options arising from a better understanding of the biology of ageing. Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

  2. Red-backed vole brain promotes highly efficient in vitro amplification of abnormal prion protein from macaque and human brains infected with variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease agent.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nemecek, Julie; Nag, Nabanita; Carlson, Christina M.; Schneider, Jay R.; Heisey, Dennis M.; Johnson, Christopher J.; Asher, David M.; Gregori, Luisa

    2013-01-01

    Rapid antemortem tests to detect individuals with transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) would contribute to public health. We investigated a technique known as protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) to amplify abnormal prion protein (PrPTSE) from highly diluted variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD)-infected human and macaque brain homogenates, seeking to improve the rapid detection of PrPTSE in tissues and blood. Macaque vCJD PrPTSE did not amplify using normal macaque brain homogenate as substrate (intraspecies PMCA). Next, we tested interspecies PMCA with normal brain homogenate of the southern red-backed vole (RBV), a close relative of the bank vole, seeded with macaque vCJD PrPTSE. The RBV has a natural polymorphism at residue 170 of the PrP-encoding gene (N/N, S/S, and S/N). We investigated the effect of this polymorphism on amplification of human and macaque vCJD PrPTSE. Meadow vole brain (170N/N PrP genotype) was also included in the panel of substrates tested. Both humans and macaques have the same 170S/S PrP genotype. Macaque PrPTSE was best amplified with RBV 170S/S brain, although 170N/N and 170S/N were also competent substrates, while meadow vole brain was a poor substrate. In contrast, human PrPTSE demonstrated a striking narrow selectivity for PMCA substrate and was successfully amplified only with RBV 170S/S brain. These observations suggest that macaque PrPTSE was more permissive than human PrPTSE in selecting the competent RBV substrate. RBV 170S/S brain was used to assess the sensitivity of PMCA with PrPTSE from brains of humans and macaques with vCJD. PrPTSE signals were reproducibly detected by Western blot in dilutions through 10-12 of vCJD-infected 10% brain homogenates. This is the first report showing PrPTSE from vCJD-infected human and macaque brains efficiently amplified with RBV brain as the substrate. Based on our estimates, PMCA showed a sensitivity that might be sufficient to detect PrPTSE in v

  3. Red-backed vole brain promotes highly efficient in vitro amplification of abnormal prion protein from macaque and human brains infected with variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease agent.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Julie Nemecek

    Full Text Available Rapid antemortem tests to detect individuals with transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE would contribute to public health. We investigated a technique known as protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA to amplify abnormal prion protein (PrP(TSE from highly diluted variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD-infected human and macaque brain homogenates, seeking to improve the rapid detection of PrP(TSE in tissues and blood. Macaque vCJD PrP(TSE did not amplify using normal macaque brain homogenate as substrate (intraspecies PMCA. Next, we tested interspecies PMCA with normal brain homogenate of the southern red-backed vole (RBV, a close relative of the bank vole, seeded with macaque vCJD PrP(TSE. The RBV has a natural polymorphism at residue 170 of the PrP-encoding gene (N/N, S/S, and S/N. We investigated the effect of this polymorphism on amplification of human and macaque vCJD PrP(TSE. Meadow vole brain (170N/N PrP genotype was also included in the panel of substrates tested. Both humans and macaques have the same 170S/S PrP genotype. Macaque PrP(TSE was best amplified with RBV 170S/S brain, although 170N/N and 170S/N were also competent substrates, while meadow vole brain was a poor substrate. In contrast, human PrP(TSE demonstrated a striking narrow selectivity for PMCA substrate and was successfully amplified only with RBV 170S/S brain. These observations suggest that macaque PrP(TSE was more permissive than human PrP(TSE in selecting the competent RBV substrate. RBV 170S/S brain was used to assess the sensitivity of PMCA with PrP(TSE from brains of humans and macaques with vCJD. PrP(TSE signals were reproducibly detected by Western blot in dilutions through 10⁻¹² of vCJD-infected 10% brain homogenates. This is the first report showing PrP(TSE from vCJD-infected human and macaque brains efficiently amplified with RBV brain as the substrate. Based on our estimates, PMCA showed a sensitivity that might be sufficient to detect Pr

  4. Encephalopathy for prions

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Colegial, Carlos; Silva, Federico; Perez, Carlos

    1999-01-01

    The encephalopathy spongyform for prions are neuro degenerative illness that can be sporadic or transferable, for infectious or hereditary mechanisms. Their investigation has outlined enormous challenges and in the historical journey in search of its cause two doctors have received the Nobel prize of medicine Carleton Gajdusek, for its works in New Guinea where it described the infectious transmission for cannibalistic rites that it took to studies of experimental transmission in chimpanzees and to its theory of the slow virus; later on, Stanley Prusiner developed its experimental works in hamsters, throwing to the neurobiology the prion concept (particles infectious proteinaceous not viral). The paper narrates the history of a patient that died in the San Juan de Dios of Bogota Hospital by cause of this prionic illness and clinical and pathological aspects are discussed

  5. High prevalence of a fungal prion

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Debets, A.J.M.; Dalstra, H.J.P.; Slakhorst, S.M.; Koopmanschap-Memelink, A.B.; Hoekstra, R.F.; Saupe, S.J.

    2012-01-01

    Prions are infectious proteins that cause fatal diseases in mammals. Prions have also been found in fungi, but studies on their role in nature are scarce. The proposed biological function of fungal prions is debated and varies from detrimental to benign or even beneficial. [Het-s] is a prion of the

  6. Hermeneutics and the Historicity of Human Understanding

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gholamreza Jamshidnia

    2009-02-01

    Full Text Available Whether objectivity in the understanding of history is achivable? Putting  in another way, whether it is possible to account a historical event purely objectively, and free of one's own values, attitudes, and interests? Whether it is possible to have a "complete history'' and a complete explanation of any historical matter? If it is not possible, then it necessarily leads to a relativistic approach which finds any historical narrative acceptable? Are there any criteria according to which one could compare truthfulness of various historical narratives? The present study approach these questions hermeneutically. However, not all hermeneutical approaches answer them alike. Denying the relativist approach, this study attempts to analyze historicity of the human understanding and that of the interpreter him/herself.

  7. Understanding human behavior in times of war.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vetter, Stefan

    2007-12-01

    The Third Geneva Convention reflects on the values of humanism, declaring the rights of humaneness, honor, and protection before torture and final discharge of war prisoners after the end of a war. These days, the occurrences in Baghdad Central Detention Center (formerly known as Abu Ghraib Prison), the actions of British soldiers in Basra, and the inflamed public discussion of whether torture might be an appropriate method to obtain crucial information from terrorists put the Third Geneva Convention back in the spotlight. The aforementioned occurrences raise questions regarding the psychological mass phenomena that make us vulnerable to think and to act against our education, habits, and beliefs. Only an understanding of these phenomena will help us to act against behavior we condemn. This article is an attempt to show how cognition of societies and individuals slowly changes during longer conflicts. Furthermore, it tries to summarize the possibilities we have to confront these tendencies.

  8. Chol understandings of suicide and human agency.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Imberton, Gracia

    2012-06-01

    According to ethnographic material collected since 2003, the Chol Mayan indigenous people in southern Mexico have different causal explanations for suicide. It can be attributed to witchcraft that forces victims to take their lives against their own will, to excessive drinking, or to fate determined by God. However, it can also be conceived of as a conscious decision made by a person overwhelmed by daily problems. Drawing from the theoretical framework developed by Laura M. Ahearn, inspired by practice theory, the paper contends that these different explanations operate within two different logics or understandings of human agency. The first logic attributes responsibility to supernatural causes such as witchcraft or divine destiny, and reflects Chol notions of personhood. The second logic accepts personal responsibility for suicide, and is related to processes of social change such as the introduction of wage labor, education and a market economy. The contemporary Chol resort to both logics to make sense of the human drama of suicide.

  9. Towards a better understanding of human smuggling

    OpenAIRE

    Heckmann, Friedrich

    2007-01-01

    Contents: What is human smuggling?; How can we know about human smuggling?; Human smuggling as a migration phenomenon; Human smuggling as a business; The social organizing of human smuggling; Fighting against human smuggling.

  10. Prion protein and scrapie susceptibility

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Smits, M.A.; Bossers, A.; Schreuder, B.E.C.

    1997-01-01

    This article presents briefly current views on the role of prion protein (PrP) in Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies or prion diseases and the effect of PrP polymoryhisms on the susceptibility to these diseases, with special emphasis on sheep scrapie. The PrP genotype of sheep apears to be a

  11. The many shades of prion strain adaptation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baskakov, Ilia V

    2014-01-01

    In several recent studies transmissible prion disease was induced in animals by inoculation with recombinant prion protein amyloid fibrils produced in vitro. Serial transmission of amyloid fibrils gave rise to a new class of prion strains of synthetic origin. Gradual transformation of disease phenotypes and PrP(Sc) properties was observed during serial transmission of synthetic prions, a process that resembled the phenomenon of prion strain adaptation. The current article discusses the remarkable parallels between phenomena of prion strain adaptation that accompanies cross-species transmission and the evolution of synthetic prions occurring within the same host. Two alternative mechanisms underlying prion strain adaptation and synthetic strain evolution are discussed. The current article highlights the complexity of the prion transmission barrier and strain adaptation and proposes that the phenomenon of prion adaptation is more common than previously thought.

  12. Prion Amplification and Hierarchical Bayesian Modeling Refine Detection of Prion Infection

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wyckoff, A. Christy; Galloway, Nathan; Meyerett-Reid, Crystal; Powers, Jenny; Spraker, Terry; Monello, Ryan J.; Pulford, Bruce; Wild, Margaret; Antolin, Michael; Vercauteren, Kurt; Zabel, Mark

    2015-02-01

    Prions are unique infectious agents that replicate without a genome and cause neurodegenerative diseases that include chronic wasting disease (CWD) of cervids. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) is currently considered the gold standard for diagnosis of a prion infection but may be insensitive to early or sub-clinical CWD that are important to understanding CWD transmission and ecology. We assessed the potential of serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification (sPMCA) to improve detection of CWD prior to the onset of clinical signs. We analyzed tissue samples from free-ranging Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) and used hierarchical Bayesian analysis to estimate the specificity and sensitivity of IHC and sPMCA conditional on simultaneously estimated disease states. Sensitivity estimates were higher for sPMCA (99.51%, credible interval (CI) 97.15-100%) than IHC of obex (brain stem, 76.56%, CI 57.00-91.46%) or retropharyngeal lymph node (90.06%, CI 74.13-98.70%) tissues, or both (98.99%, CI 90.01-100%). Our hierarchical Bayesian model predicts the prevalence of prion infection in this elk population to be 18.90% (CI 15.50-32.72%), compared to previous estimates of 12.90%. Our data reveal a previously unidentified sub-clinical prion-positive portion of the elk population that could represent silent carriers capable of significantly impacting CWD ecology.

  13. Prion amplification and hierarchical Bayesian modeling refine detection of prion infection.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wyckoff, A Christy; Galloway, Nathan; Meyerett-Reid, Crystal; Powers, Jenny; Spraker, Terry; Monello, Ryan J; Pulford, Bruce; Wild, Margaret; Antolin, Michael; VerCauteren, Kurt; Zabel, Mark

    2015-02-10

    Prions are unique infectious agents that replicate without a genome and cause neurodegenerative diseases that include chronic wasting disease (CWD) of cervids. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) is currently considered the gold standard for diagnosis of a prion infection but may be insensitive to early or sub-clinical CWD that are important to understanding CWD transmission and ecology. We assessed the potential of serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification (sPMCA) to improve detection of CWD prior to the onset of clinical signs. We analyzed tissue samples from free-ranging Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) and used hierarchical Bayesian analysis to estimate the specificity and sensitivity of IHC and sPMCA conditional on simultaneously estimated disease states. Sensitivity estimates were higher for sPMCA (99.51%, credible interval (CI) 97.15-100%) than IHC of obex (brain stem, 76.56%, CI 57.00-91.46%) or retropharyngeal lymph node (90.06%, CI 74.13-98.70%) tissues, or both (98.99%, CI 90.01-100%). Our hierarchical Bayesian model predicts the prevalence of prion infection in this elk population to be 18.90% (CI 15.50-32.72%), compared to previous estimates of 12.90%. Our data reveal a previously unidentified sub-clinical prion-positive portion of the elk population that could represent silent carriers capable of significantly impacting CWD ecology.

  14. Instability of buried hydration sites increases protein subdomains fluctuations in the human prion protein by the pathogenic mutation T188R

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tomobe, Katsufumi; Yamamoto, Eiji; Akimoto, Takuma; Yasui, Masato; Yasuoka, Kenji

    2016-05-01

    The conformational change from the cellular prion protein (PrPc) to scrapie prion protein (PrPsc) is a key process in prion diseases. The prion protein has buried water molecules which significantly contribute to the stability of the protein; however, there has been no report investigating the influence on the buried hydration sites by a pathogenic mutation not adjacent to the buried hydration sites. Here, we perform molecular dynamics simulations of wild type (WT) PrPc and pathogenic point mutant T188R to investigate conformational changes and the buried hydration sites. In WT-PrPc, four buried hydration sites are identified by residence time and rotational relaxation analysis. However, there are no stable buried hydration sites in one of T188R simulations, which indicates that T188R sometimes makes the buried hydration sites fragile. We also find that fluctuations of subdomains S1-H1-S2 and H1-H2 increase in T188R when the buried hydration sites become unstable. Since the side chain of arginine which is replaced from threonine in T188R is larger than of threonine, the side chain cannot be embedded in the protein, which is one of the causes of the instability of subdomains. These results show correlations between the buried hydration sites and the mutation which is far from them, and provide a possible explanation for the instability by mutation.

  15. Instability of buried hydration sites increases protein subdomains fluctuations in the human prion protein by the pathogenic mutation T188R

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Katsufumi Tomobe

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available The conformational change from the cellular prion protein (PrPc to scrapie prion protein (PrPsc is a key process in prion diseases. The prion protein has buried water molecules which significantly contribute to the stability of the protein; however, there has been no report investigating the influence on the buried hydration sites by a pathogenic mutation not adjacent to the buried hydration sites. Here, we perform molecular dynamics simulations of wild type (WT PrPc and pathogenic point mutant T188R to investigate conformational changes and the buried hydration sites. In WT-PrPc, four buried hydration sites are identified by residence time and rotational relaxation analysis. However, there are no stable buried hydration sites in one of T188R simulations, which indicates that T188R sometimes makes the buried hydration sites fragile. We also find that fluctuations of subdomains S1-H1-S2 and H1-H2 increase in T188R when the buried hydration sites become unstable. Since the side chain of arginine which is replaced from threonine in T188R is larger than of threonine, the side chain cannot be embedded in the protein, which is one of the causes of the instability of subdomains. These results show correlations between the buried hydration sites and the mutation which is far from them, and provide a possible explanation for the instability by mutation.

  16. Regulation of the Hsp104 middle domain activity is critical for yeast prion propagation.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jennifer E Dulle

    Full Text Available Molecular chaperones play a significant role in preventing protein misfolding and aggregation. Indeed, some protein conformational disorders have been linked to changes in the chaperone network. Curiously, in yeast, chaperones also play a role in promoting prion maintenance and propagation. While many amyloidogenic proteins are associated with disease in mammals, yeast prion proteins, and their ability to undergo conformational conversion into a prion state, are proposed to play a functional role in yeast biology. The chaperone Hsp104, a AAA+ ATPase, is essential for yeast prion propagation. Hsp104 fragments large prion aggregates to generate a population of smaller oligomers that can more readily convert soluble monomer and be transmitted to daughter cells. Here, we show that the middle (M domain of Hsp104, and its mobility, plays an integral part in prion propagation. We generated and characterized mutations in the M-domain of Hsp104 that are predicted to stabilize either a repressed or de-repressed conformation of the M-domain (by analogy to ClpB in bacteria. We show that the predicted stabilization of the repressed conformation inhibits general chaperone activity. Mutation to the de-repressed conformation, however, has differential effects on ATP hydrolysis and disaggregation, suggesting that the M-domain is involved in coupling these two activities. Interestingly, we show that changes in the M-domain differentially affect the propagation of different variants of the [PSI+] and [RNQ+] prions, which indicates that some prion variants are more sensitive to changes in the M-domain mobility than others. Thus, we provide evidence that regulation of the M-domain of Hsp104 is critical for efficient prion propagation. This shows the importance of elucidating the function of the M-domain in order to understand the role of Hsp104 in the propagation of different prions and prion variants.

  17. Understanding human perception by human-made illusions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carbon, Claus-Christian

    2014-01-01

    IT MAY BE FUN TO PERCEIVE ILLUSIONS, BUT THE UNDERSTANDING OF HOW THEY WORK IS EVEN MORE STIMULATING AND SUSTAINABLE: They can tell us where the limits and capacity of our perceptual apparatus are found-they can specify how the constraints of perception are set. Furthermore, they let us analyze the cognitive sub-processes underlying our perception. Illusions in a scientific context are not mainly created to reveal the failures of our perception or the dysfunctions of our apparatus, but instead point to the specific power of human perception. The main task of human perception is to amplify and strengthen sensory inputs to be able to perceive, orientate and act very quickly, specifically and efficiently. The present paper strengthens this line of argument, strongly put forth by perceptual pioneer Richard L. Gregory (e.g., Gregory, 2009), by discussing specific visual illusions and how they can help us to understand the magic of perception.

  18. Genesis of mammalian prions: from non-infectious amyloid fibrils to a transmissible prion disease.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Natallia Makarava

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available The transmissible agent of prion disease consists of a prion protein in its abnormal, β-sheet rich state (PrP(Sc, which is capable of replicating itself according to the template-assisted mechanism. This mechanism postulates that the folding pattern of a newly recruited polypeptide chain accurately reproduces that of a PrP(Sc template. Here we report that authentic PrP(Sc and transmissible prion disease can be generated de novo in wild type animals by recombinant PrP (rPrP amyloid fibrils, which are structurally different from PrP(Sc and lack any detectable PrP(Sc particles. When induced by rPrP fibrils, a long silent stage that involved two serial passages preceded development of the clinical disease. Once emerged, the prion disease was characterized by unique clinical, neuropathological, and biochemical features. The long silent stage to the disease was accompanied by significant transformation in neuropathological properties and biochemical features of the proteinase K-resistant PrP material (PrPres before authentic PrP(Sc evolved. The current work illustrates that transmissible prion diseases can be induced by PrP structures different from that of authentic PrP(Sc and suggests that a new mechanism different from the classical templating exists. This new mechanism designated as "deformed templating" postulates that a change in the PrP folding pattern from the one present in rPrP fibrils to an alternative specific for PrP(Sc can occur. The current work provides important new insight into the mechanisms underlying genesis of the transmissible protein states and has numerous implications for understanding the etiology of neurodegenerative diseases.

  19. Structure-based view on [PSI(+)] prion properties.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bondarev, Stanislav A; Zhouravleva, Galina A; Belousov, Mikhail V; Kajava, Andrey V

    2015-01-01

    Yeast [PSI(+)] prion is one of the most suitable and well characterized system for the investigation of the prion phenomenon. However, until recently, the lack of data on the 3D arrangement of Sup35p prion fibrils hindered progress in this area. The recent arrival in this field of new experimental techniques led to the parallel and in-register superpleated β-structure as a consensus model for Sup35p fibrils. Here, we analyzed the effect of amino acid substitutions of the Sup35 protein through the prism of this structural model. Application of a newly developed computational approach, called ArchCandy, gives us a better understanding of the effect caused by mutations on the fibril forming potential of Sup35 protein. This bioinformatics tool can be used for the design of new mutations with desired modification of prion properties. Thus, we provide examples of how today, having progress toward elucidation of the structural arrangement of Sup35p fibrils, researchers can advance more efficiently to a better understanding of prion [PSI(+)] stability and propagation.

  20. Understanding Human Error in Naval Aviation Mishaps.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miranda, Andrew T

    2018-04-01

    To better understand the external factors that influence the performance and decisions of aviators involved in Naval aviation mishaps. Mishaps in complex activities, ranging from aviation to nuclear power operations, are often the result of interactions between multiple components within an organization. The Naval aviation mishap database contains relevant information, both in quantitative statistics and qualitative reports, that permits analysis of such interactions to identify how the working atmosphere influences aviator performance and judgment. Results from 95 severe Naval aviation mishaps that occurred from 2011 through 2016 were analyzed using Bayes' theorem probability formula. Then a content analysis was performed on a subset of relevant mishap reports. Out of the 14 latent factors analyzed, the Bayes' application identified 6 that impacted specific aspects of aviator behavior during mishaps. Technological environment, misperceptions, and mental awareness impacted basic aviation skills. The remaining 3 factors were used to inform a content analysis of the contextual information within mishap reports. Teamwork failures were the result of plan continuation aggravated by diffused responsibility. Resource limitations and risk management deficiencies impacted judgments made by squadron commanders. The application of Bayes' theorem to historical mishap data revealed the role of latent factors within Naval aviation mishaps. Teamwork failures were seen to be considerably damaging to both aviator skill and judgment. Both the methods and findings have direct application for organizations interested in understanding the relationships between external factors and human error. It presents real-world evidence to promote effective safety decisions.

  1. Prions and neuro degenerative diseases | Nair | African Journal of ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Prion is a disease-causing agent that is neither bacterial nor fungal nor viral and contains no genetic material. A prion is a protein that occurs normally in a harmless form. By folding into an aberrant shape, the normal prion turns into a rogue agent. It then co-opts other normal prions to become rogue prions. Prions have ...

  2. Disease Transmission by Misfolded Prion-Protein Isoforms, Prion-Like Amyloids, Functional Amyloids and the Central Dogma

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Martin L. Daus

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available In 1982, the term “prions” (proteinaceous infectious particles was coined to specify a new principle of infection. A misfolded isoform of a cellular protein has been described as the causative agent of a fatal neurodegenerative disease. At the beginning of prion research scientists assumed that the infectious agent causing transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE was a virus, but some unconventional properties of these pathogens were difficult to bring in line with the prevailing viral model. The discovery that prions (obviously devoid of any coding nucleic acid can store and transmit information similarly to DNA was initially even denoted as being “heretical” but is nowadays mainly accepted by the scientific community. This review describes, from a historical point of view, how the “protein-only hypothesis” expands the Central Dogma. Definition of both, the prion principle and the Central Dogma, have been essential steps to understand information storage and transfer within and among cells and organisms. Furthermore, the current understanding of the infectivity of prion-proteins after misfolding is summarized succinctly. Finally, prion-like amyloids and functional amyloids, as found in yeast and bacteria, will be discussed.

  3. Heterogeneous seeding of HET-s(218–289) and the mutability of prion structures

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wan, William; Stubbs, Gerald

    2014-02-18

    One fundamental property of prions is the formation of strains—prions that have distinct biological effects, despite a common amino acid sequence. The strain phenomenon is thought to be caused by the formation of different molecular structures, each encoding for a particular biological activity. While the precise mechanism of the formation of strains is unknown, they tend to arise following environmental changes, such as passage between different species. One possible mechanism discussed here is heterogeneous seeding; the formation of a prion nucleated by a different molecular structure. While heterogeneous seeding is not the only mechanism of prion mutation, it is consistent with some observations on species adaptation and drug resistance. Heterogeneous seeding provides a useful framework to understand how prions can adapt to new environmental conditions and change biological phenotypes.

  4. Unraveling the key to the resistance of canids to prion diseases.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Natalia Fernández-Borges

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available One of the characteristics of prions is their ability to infect some species but not others and prion resistant species have been of special interest because of their potential in deciphering the determinants for susceptibility. Previously, we developed different in vitro and in vivo models to assess the susceptibility of species that were erroneously considered resistant to prion infection, such as members of the Leporidae and Equidae families. Here we undertake in vitro and in vivo approaches to understand the unresolved low prion susceptibility of canids. Studies based on the amino acid sequence of the canine prion protein (PrP, together with a structural analysis in silico, identified unique key amino acids whose characteristics could orchestrate its high resistance to prion disease. Cell- and brain-based PMCA studies were performed highlighting the relevance of the D163 amino acid in proneness to protein misfolding. This was also investigated by the generation of a novel transgenic mouse model carrying this substitution and these mice showed complete resistance to disease despite intracerebral challenge with three different mouse prion strains (RML, 22L and 301C known to cause disease in wild-type mice. These findings suggest that dog D163 amino acid is primarily, if not totally, responsible for the prion resistance of canids.

  5. Prion-Seeding Activity Is widely Distributed in Tissues of Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Patients

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hanae Takatsuki, PhD

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available Human prion diseases are neurodegenerative disorders caused by abnormally folded prion proteins in the central nervous system. These proteins can be detected using the quaking-induced conversion assay. Compared with other bioassays, this assay is extremely sensitive and was used in the present study to determine prion distribution in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease patients at autopsy. Although infectivity of the sporadic form is thought to be restricted within the central nervous system, results showed that prion-seeding activities reach 106/g from a 50% seeding dose in non-neuronal tissues, suggesting that prion-seeding activity exists in non-neural organs, and we suggested that non-neural tissues of 106/g SD50 did not exist the infectivity.

  6. Prion-Seeding Activity Is widely Distributed in Tissues of Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Patients.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Takatsuki, Hanae; Fuse, Takayuki; Nakagaki, Takehiro; Mori, Tsuyoshi; Mihara, Ban; Takao, Masaki; Iwasaki, Yasushi; Yoshida, Mari; Murayama, Shigeo; Atarashi, Ryuichiro; Nishida, Noriyuki; Satoh, Katsuya

    2016-10-01

    Human prion diseases are neurodegenerative disorders caused by abnormally folded prion proteins in the central nervous system. These proteins can be detected using the quaking-induced conversion assay. Compared with other bioassays, this assay is extremely sensitive and was used in the present study to determine prion distribution in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease patients at autopsy. Although infectivity of the sporadic form is thought to be restricted within the central nervous system, results showed that prion-seeding activities reach 10 6 /g from a 50% seeding dose in non-neuronal tissues, suggesting that prion-seeding activity exists in non-neural organs, and we suggested that non-neural tissues of 10 6 /g SD50 did not exist the infectivity. Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  7. Statistical Mechanics of Prion Diseases

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Slepoy, A.; Singh, R. R. P.; Pazmandi, F.; Kulkarni, R. V.; Cox, D. L.

    2001-01-01

    We present a two-dimensional, lattice based, protein-level statistical mechanical model for prion diseases (e.g., mad cow disease) with concomitant prion protein misfolding and aggregation. Our studies lead us to the hypothesis that the observed broad incubation time distribution in epidemiological data reflect fluctuation dominated growth seeded by a few nanometer scale aggregates, while much narrower incubation time distributions for innoculated lab animals arise from statistical self-averaging. We model ''species barriers'' to prion infection and assess a related treatment protocol

  8. Lack of prion transmission by sexual or parental routes in experimentally infected hamsters.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morales, Rodrigo; Pritzkow, Sandra; Hu, Ping Ping; Duran-Aniotz, Claudia; Soto, Claudio

    2013-01-01

    Prion diseases are a group of neurodegenerative disorders affecting humans as well as captive and wild animals. The mechanisms and routes governing the natural spread of prions are not completely understood and several hypotheses have been proposed. In this study, we analyzed the effect of gender in prion incubation period, as well as the possibility of prion transmission by sexual and parental contact using 263K infected hamsters as a model. Our results show that males have significantly longer incubation periods compared with females when exposed to the same quantity of infectious material. Importantly, no evidence of sexual or parental prion transmission was found, even 500 d after sexual contact or birth, respectively. Western blotting and PMCA were unable to detect sub-clinical levels of PrP(Sc) in experimental subjects, suggesting a complete absence of prion transmission by these routes. Our results show that sexual and parental transmission of prions does not occur in this model. It remains to be studied whether this conclusion is valid also for other prion strains and species.

  9. Advancing prion science: guidance for the National Prion Research Program

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Erdtmann, Rick; Sivitz, Laura

    2004-01-01

    In Advancing Prion Science , the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies Assessment of Relevant Science recommends priorities for research and investment to the Department of Defenseâ...

  10. Evidence that bank vole PrP is a universal acceptor for prions.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joel C Watts

    2014-04-01

    Full Text Available Bank voles are uniquely susceptible to a wide range of prion strains isolated from many different species. To determine if this enhanced susceptibility to interspecies prion transmission is encoded within the sequence of the bank vole prion protein (BVPrP, we inoculated Tg(M109 and Tg(I109 mice, which express BVPrP containing either methionine or isoleucine at polymorphic codon 109, with 16 prion isolates from 8 different species: humans, cattle, elk, sheep, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, and meadow voles. Efficient disease transmission was observed in both Tg(M109 and Tg(I109 mice. For instance, inoculation of the most common human prion strain, sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD subtype MM1, into Tg(M109 mice gave incubation periods of ∼200 days that were shortened slightly on second passage. Chronic wasting disease prions exhibited an incubation time of ∼250 days, which shortened to ∼150 days upon second passage in Tg(M109 mice. Unexpectedly, bovine spongiform encephalopathy and variant CJD prions caused rapid neurological dysfunction in Tg(M109 mice upon second passage, with incubation periods of 64 and 40 days, respectively. Despite the rapid incubation periods, other strain-specified properties of many prion isolates--including the size of proteinase K-resistant PrPSc, the pattern of cerebral PrPSc deposition, and the conformational stability--were remarkably conserved upon serial passage in Tg(M109 mice. Our results demonstrate that expression of BVPrP is sufficient to engender enhanced susceptibility to a diverse range of prion isolates, suggesting that BVPrP may be a universal acceptor for prions.

  11. Protein misfolding cyclic amplification induces the conversion of recombinant prion protein to PrP oligomers causing neuronal apoptosis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yuan, Zhen; Yang, Lifeng; Chen, Baian; Zhu, Ting; Hassan, Mohammad Farooque; Yin, Xiaomin; Zhou, Xiangmei; Zhao, Deming

    2015-06-01

    The formation of neurotoxic prion protein (PrP) oligomers is thought to be a key step in the development of prion diseases. Recently, it was determined that the sonication and shaking of recombinant PrP can convert PrP monomers into β-state oligomers. Herein, we demonstrate that β-state oligomeric PrP can be generated through protein misfolding cyclic amplification from recombinant full-length hamster, human, rabbit, and mutated rabbit PrP, and that these oligomers can be used for subsequent research into the mechanisms of PrP-induced neurotoxicity. We have characterized protein misfolding cyclic amplification-induced monomer-to-oligomer conversion of PrP from three species using western blotting, circular dichroism, size-exclusion chromatography, and resistance to proteinase K (PK) digestion. We have further shown that all of the resulting β-oligomers are toxic to primary mouse cortical neurons independent of the presence of PrP(C) in the neurons, whereas the corresponding monomeric PrP were not toxic. In addition, we found that this toxicity is the result of oligomer-induced apoptosis via regulation of Bcl-2, Bax, and caspase-3 in both wild-type and PrP(-/-) cortical neurons. It is our hope that these results may contribute to our understanding of prion transformation within the brain. We found that β-state oligomeric PrPs can be generated through protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) from recombinant full-length hamster, human, rabbit, and mutated rabbit PrP. β-oligomers are toxic to primary mouse cortical neurons independent of the presence of PrP(C) in the neurons, while the corresponding monomeric PrPs were not toxic. This toxicity is the result of oligomers-induced apoptosis via regulation of Bcl-2, Bax, and caspase-3. These results may contribute to our understanding of prion transformation within the brain. © 2015 International Society for Neurochemistry.

  12. Meat and bone meal and mineral feed additives may increase the risk of oral prion disease transmission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Christopher J.; McKenzie, Debbie; Pedersen, Joel A.; Aiken, Judd M.

    2011-01-01

    Ingestion of prion-contaminated materials is postulated to be a primary route of prion disease transmission. Binding of prions to soil (micro)particles dramatically enhances peroral disease transmission relative to unbound prions, and it was hypothesized that micrometer-sized particles present in other consumed materials may affect prion disease transmission via the oral route of exposure. Small, insoluble particles are present in many substances, including soil, human foods, pharmaceuticals, and animal feeds. It is known that meat and bone meal (MBM), a feed additive believed responsible for the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), contains particles smaller than 20 μm and that the pathogenic prion protein binds to MBM. The potentiation of disease transmission via the oral route by exposure to MBM or three micrometer-sized mineral feed additives was determined. Data showed that when the disease agent was bound to any of the tested materials, the penetrance of disease was increased compared to unbound prions. Our data suggest that in feed or other prion-contaminated substances consumed by animals or, potentially, humans, the addition of MBM or the presence of microparticles could heighten risks of prion disease acquisition.

  13. The expanded octarepeat domain selectively binds prions and disrupts homomeric prion protein interactions

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Leliveld, S. R.; Dame, R.T.; Wuite, G.J.L.; Stitz, L.; Korth, C.

    2006-01-01

    Insertion of additional octarepeats into the prion protein gene has been genetically linked to familial Creutzfeldt Jakob disease and hence to de novo generation of infectious prions. The pivotal event during prion formation is the conversion of the normal prion protein (PrP

  14. Functional interactions of nucleocapsid protein of feline immunodeficiency virus and cellular prion protein with the viral RNA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moscardini, Mila; Pistello, Mauro; Bendinelli, M; Ficheux, Damien; Miller, Jennifer T; Gabus, Caroline; Le Grice, Stuart F J; Surewicz, Witold K; Darlix, Jean-Luc

    2002-04-19

    All lentiviruses and oncoretroviruses examined so far encode a major nucleic-acid binding protein (nucleocapsid or NC* protein), approximately 2500 molecules of which coat the dimeric RNA genome. Studies on HIV-1 and MoMuLV using in vitro model systems and in vivo have shown that NC protein is required to chaperone viral RNA dimerization and packaging during virus assembly, and proviral DNA synthesis by reverse transcriptase (RT) during infection. The human cellular prion protein (PrP), thought to be the major component of the agent causing transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE), was recently found to possess a strong affinity for nucleic acids and to exhibit chaperone properties very similar to HIV-1 NC protein in the HIV-1 context in vitro. Tight binding of PrP to nucleic acids is proposed to participate directly in the prion disease process. To extend our understanding of lentiviruses and of the unexpected nucleic acid chaperone properties of the human prion protein, we set up an in vitro system to investigate replication of the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), which is functionally and phylogenetically distant from HIV-1. The results show that in the FIV model system, NC protein chaperones viral RNA dimerization, primer tRNA(Lys,3) annealing to the genomic primer-binding site (PBS) and minus strand DNA synthesis by the homologous FIV RT. FIV NC protein is able to trigger specific viral DNA synthesis by inhibiting self-priming of reverse transcription. The human prion protein was found to mimic the properties of FIV NC with respect to primer tRNA annealing to the viral RNA and chaperoning minus strand DNA synthesis. Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd.

  15. New variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob (vCJD) disease and other human prion diseases under epidemiological surveillance in Brazil

    OpenAIRE

    Gattás, Vera Lúcia; Lima Neto, Antonio Silva; Dimech, George Santiago; Mancini, Denise; Cantarino, Ligia Maria; Marins, José Ricardo Pio; Luna, Expedito José Albuquerque

    2007-01-01

    Abstract To increase the timeliness of detection of human cases of the new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) and to reduce the risk of transmission, the Brazilian Ministry of Health has established and standardized rules and control measures. These include the definition of criteria for suspect cases, reporting, monitoring, and control measures for illness prevention and transmission. Guidelines to be used by the team of health care staff were published and distributed to health wor...

  16. Prions: Beyond a Single Protein

    Science.gov (United States)

    Das, Alvin S.

    2016-01-01

    SUMMARY Since the term protein was first coined in 1838 and protein was discovered to be the essential component of fibrin and albumin, all cellular proteins were presumed to play beneficial roles in plants and mammals. However, in 1967, Griffith proposed that proteins could be infectious pathogens and postulated their involvement in scrapie, a universally fatal transmissible spongiform encephalopathy in goats and sheep. Nevertheless, this novel hypothesis had not been evidenced until 1982, when Prusiner and coworkers purified infectious particles from scrapie-infected hamster brains and demonstrated that they consisted of a specific protein that he called a “prion.” Unprecedentedly, the infectious prion pathogen is actually derived from its endogenous cellular form in the central nervous system. Unlike other infectious agents, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi, prions do not contain genetic materials such as DNA or RNA. The unique traits and genetic information of prions are believed to be encoded within the conformational structure and posttranslational modifications of the proteins. Remarkably, prion-like behavior has been recently observed in other cellular proteins—not only in pathogenic roles but also serving physiological functions. The significance of these fascinating developments in prion biology is far beyond the scope of a single cellular protein and its related disease. PMID:27226089

  17. Spermidine cures yeast of prions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shaun H. Speldewinde

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Prions are self-perpetuating amyloid protein aggregates which underlie various neurodegenerative diseases in mammals. The molecular basis underlying their conversion from a normally soluble protein into the prion form remains largely unknown. Studies aimed at uncovering these mechanism(s are therefore essential if we are to develop effective therapeutic strategies to counteract these disease-causing entities. Autophagy is a cellular degradation system which has predominantly been considered as a non-selective bulk degradation process which recycles macromolecules in response to starvation conditions. We now know that autophagy also serves as a protein quality control mechanism which selectively degrades protein aggregates and damaged organelles. These are commonly accumulated in various neurodegenerative disorders including prion diseases. In our recent study [Speldewinde et al. Mol. Biol. Cell. (2015] we used the well-established yeast [PSI+]/Sup35 and [PIN­+]/Rnq1 prion models to show that autophagy prevents sporadic prion formation. Importantly, we found that spermidine, a polyamine that has been used to increase autophagic flux, acts as a protective agent which prevents spontaneous prion formation.

  18. An assessment of the long-term persistence of prion infectivity in aquatic environments

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Marín-Moreno, Alba; Espinosa, Juan-Carlos; Fernández-Borges, Natalia; Píquer, Juan; Girones, Rosina; Andreoletti, Olivier; Torres, Juan-María

    2016-01-01

    The environment plays a key role in horizontal transmission of prion diseases, since prions are extremely resistant to classical inactivation procedures. In prior work, we observed the high stability of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) infectivity when these prions were incubated in aqueous media such as phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) or wastewater for nearly nine months. As a continuation of this experiment, the same samples were maintained in PBS or wastewater for five additional years and residual BSE infectivity was assessed in bovine PrP C transgenic mice. Over this long time period (more than six years), BSE infectivity was reduced by three and one orders of magnitude in wastewater and PBS respectively. To rule out a possible agent specific effect, sheep scrapie prions were subjected to the same experimental protocol, using eight years as the experimental end-point. No significant reduction in scrapie infectivity was observed over the first nine months of wastewater incubation while PBS incubation for eight years only produced a two logarithmic unit reduction in infectivity. By contrast, the dynamics of PrP Res persistence was different, disappearing progressively over the first year. The long persistence of prion infectivity observed in this study for two different agents provides supporting evidence of the assumed high stability of these agents in aquatic environments and that environmental processes or conventional wastewater treatments with low retention times would have little impact on prion infectivity. These results could have great repercussions in terms of risk assessment and safety for animals and human populations. - Highlights: • Prion infectivity resists long term incubations in aquatic environments. • Infectivity persistence in wastewater is reduced when compared to PBS. • In this study PrPRes fails as a marker for prion detection. • Mice bioassay is the most powerful tool for assessing prion presence. • Wastewater conventional

  19. An assessment of the long-term persistence of prion infectivity in aquatic environments

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Marín-Moreno, Alba; Espinosa, Juan-Carlos; Fernández-Borges, Natalia; Píquer, Juan [Centro de Investigación en Sanidad Animal, CISA-INIA, Carretera Algete-El Casar S/n, Valdeolmos, 28130 Madrid (Spain); Girones, Rosina [Department of Microbiology, University of Barcelona, Diagonal 643, 08028 Barcelona (Spain); Andreoletti, Olivier [UMR INRA-ENVT 1225, Interactions Hôte Agent Pathogène, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de Toulouse, Toulouse (France); Torres, Juan-María, E-mail: jmtorres@inia.es [Centro de Investigación en Sanidad Animal, CISA-INIA, Carretera Algete-El Casar S/n, Valdeolmos, 28130 Madrid (Spain)

    2016-11-15

    The environment plays a key role in horizontal transmission of prion diseases, since prions are extremely resistant to classical inactivation procedures. In prior work, we observed the high stability of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) infectivity when these prions were incubated in aqueous media such as phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) or wastewater for nearly nine months. As a continuation of this experiment, the same samples were maintained in PBS or wastewater for five additional years and residual BSE infectivity was assessed in bovine PrP{sup C} transgenic mice. Over this long time period (more than six years), BSE infectivity was reduced by three and one orders of magnitude in wastewater and PBS respectively. To rule out a possible agent specific effect, sheep scrapie prions were subjected to the same experimental protocol, using eight years as the experimental end-point. No significant reduction in scrapie infectivity was observed over the first nine months of wastewater incubation while PBS incubation for eight years only produced a two logarithmic unit reduction in infectivity. By contrast, the dynamics of PrP{sup Res} persistence was different, disappearing progressively over the first year. The long persistence of prion infectivity observed in this study for two different agents provides supporting evidence of the assumed high stability of these agents in aquatic environments and that environmental processes or conventional wastewater treatments with low retention times would have little impact on prion infectivity. These results could have great repercussions in terms of risk assessment and safety for animals and human populations. - Highlights: • Prion infectivity resists long term incubations in aquatic environments. • Infectivity persistence in wastewater is reduced when compared to PBS. • In this study PrPRes fails as a marker for prion detection. • Mice bioassay is the most powerful tool for assessing prion presence. • Wastewater

  20. Understanding human trafficking in the United States.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Logan, T K; Walker, Robert; Hunt, Gretchen

    2009-01-01

    The topic of modern-day slavery or human trafficking has received increased media and national attention. However, to date there has been limited research on the nature and scope of human trafficking in the United States. This article describes and synthesizes nine reports that assess the U.S. service organizations' legal representative knowledge of, and experience with, human trafficking cases, as well as information from actual cases and media reports. This article has five main goals: (a) to define what human trafficking is, and is not; (b) to describe factors identified as contributing to vulnerability to being trafficked and keeping a person entrapped in the situation; (c) to examine how the crime of human trafficking differs from other kinds of crimes in the United States; (d) to explore how human trafficking victims are identified; and, (e) to provide recommendations to better address human trafficking in the United States.

  1. Inactivation of Prions and Amyloid Seeds with Hypochlorous Acid.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew G Hughson

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available Hypochlorous acid (HOCl is produced naturally by neutrophils and other cells to kill conventional microbes in vivo. Synthetic preparations containing HOCl can also be effective as microbial disinfectants. Here we have tested whether HOCl can also inactivate prions and other self-propagating protein amyloid seeds. Prions are deadly pathogens that are notoriously difficult to inactivate, and standard microbial disinfection protocols are often inadequate. Recommended treatments for prion decontamination include strongly basic (pH ≥~12 sodium hypochlorite bleach, ≥1 N sodium hydroxide, and/or prolonged autoclaving. These treatments are damaging and/or unsuitable for many clinical, agricultural and environmental applications. We have tested the anti-prion activity of a weakly acidic aqueous formulation of HOCl (BrioHOCl that poses no apparent hazard to either users or many surfaces. For example, BrioHOCl can be applied directly to skin and mucous membranes and has been aerosolized to treat entire rooms without apparent deleterious effects. Here, we demonstrate that immersion in BrioHOCl can inactivate not only a range of target microbes, including spores of Bacillus subtilis, but also prions in tissue suspensions and on stainless steel. Real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC assays showed that BrioHOCl treatments eliminated all detectable prion seeding activity of human Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, cervine chronic wasting disease, sheep scrapie and hamster scrapie; these findings indicated reductions of ≥103- to 106-fold. Transgenic mouse bioassays showed that all detectable hamster-adapted scrapie infectivity in brain homogenates or on steel wires was eliminated, representing reductions of ≥~105.75-fold and >104-fold, respectively. Inactivation of RT-QuIC seeding activity correlated with free chlorine concentration and higher order aggregation or destruction of proteins generally, including prion

  2. Prion Protein Self Interactions; a gateway to novel therapeutic strategies?

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rigter, A.; Langeveld, J.P.M.; Zijderveld, van F.G.; Bossers, A.

    2010-01-01

    Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative disorders and include among others Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease in humans, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle, and scrapie in sheep. The central event in disease development in TSEs is the

  3. Prion-Like Domains in Phagobiota

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    George Tetz

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available Prions are molecules characterized by self-propagation, which can undergo a conformational switch leading to the creation of new prions. Prion proteins have originally been associated with the development of mammalian pathologies; however, recently they have been shown to contribute to the environmental adaptation in a variety of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. Bacteriophages are widespread and represent the important regulators of microbiota homeostasis and have been shown to be diverse across various bacterial families. Here, we examined whether bacteriophages contain prion-like proteins and whether these prion-like protein domains are involved in the regulation of homeostasis. We used a computational algorithm, prion-like amino acid composition, to detect prion-like domains in 370,617 publicly available bacteriophage protein sequences, which resulted in the identification of 5040 putative prions. We analyzed a set of these prion-like proteins, and observed regularities in their distribution across different phage families, associated with their interactions with the bacterial host cells. We found that prion-like domains could be found across all phages of various groups of bacteria and archaea. The results obtained in this study indicate that bacteriophage prion-like proteins are predominantly involved in the interactions between bacteriophages and bacterial cell, such as those associated with the attachment and penetration of bacteriophage in the cell, and the release of the phage progeny. These data allow the identification of phage prion-like proteins as novel regulators of the interactions between bacteriophages and bacterial cells.

  4. Cognitive neuroscience robotics B analytic approaches to human understanding

    CERN Document Server

    Ishiguro, Hiroshi; Asada, Minoru; Osaka, Mariko; Fujikado, Takashi

    2016-01-01

    Cognitive Neuroscience Robotics is the first introductory book on this new interdisciplinary area. This book consists of two volumes, the first of which, Synthetic Approaches to Human Understanding, advances human understanding from a robotics or engineering point of view. The second, Analytic Approaches to Human Understanding, addresses related subjects in cognitive science and neuroscience. These two volumes are intended to complement each other in order to more comprehensively investigate human cognitive functions, to develop human-friendly information and robot technology (IRT) systems, and to understand what kind of beings we humans are. Volume B describes to what extent cognitive science and neuroscience have revealed the underlying mechanism of human cognition, and investigates how development of neural engineering and advances in other disciplines could lead to deep understanding of human cognition.

  5. Understanding human action: integrating meanings, mechanisms, causes, and contexts

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Keestra, M.; Repko, A.F.; Newell, W.H.; Szostak, R.

    2012-01-01

    Humans are capable of understanding an incredible variety of actions performed by other humans. Even though these range from primary biological actions like eating and fleeing, to acts in parliament or in poetry, humans generally can make sense of each other’s actions. Understanding other people’s

  6. Modulation of prion polymerization and toxicity by rationally designed peptidomimetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Srivastava, Ankit; Sharma, Sakshi; Sadanandan, Sandhya; Gupta, Sakshi; Singh, Jasdeep; Gupta, Sarika; Haridas, V; Kundu, Bishwajit

    2017-01-01

    Misfolding and aggregation of cellular prion protein is associated with a large array of neurological disorders commonly called the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Designing inhibitors against prions has remained a daunting task owing to limited information about mechanism(s) of their pathogenic self-assembly. Here, we explore the anti-prion properties of a combinatorial library of bispidine-based peptidomimetics (BPMs) that conjugate amino acids with hydrophobic and aromatic side chains. Keeping the bispidine unit unaltered, a series of structurally diverse BPMs were synthesized and tested for their prion-modulating properties. Administration of Leu- and Trp-BPMs delayed and completely inhibited the amyloidogenic conversion of human prion protein (HuPrP), respectively. We found that each BPM induced the HuPrP to form unique oligomeric nanostructures differing in their biophysical properties, cellular toxicities and response to conformation-specific antibodies. While Leu-BPMs were found to stabilize the oligomers, Trp-BPMs effected transient oligomerization, resulting in the formation of non-toxic, non-fibrillar aggregates. Yet another aromatic residue, Phe, however, accelerated the aggregation process in HuPrP. Molecular insights obtained through MD (molecular dynamics) simulations suggested that each BPM differently engages a conserved Tyr 169 residue at the α2-β2 loop of HuPrP and affects the stability of α2 and α3 helices. Our results demonstrate that this new class of molecules having chemical scaffolds conjugating hydrophobic/aromatic residues could effectively modulate prion aggregation and toxicity. © 2017 The Author(s); published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society.

  7. Understanding predictability and exploration in human mobility

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Cuttone, Andrea; Jørgensen, Sune Lehmann; González, Marta C.

    2018-01-01

    Predictive models for human mobility have important applications in many fields including traffic control, ubiquitous computing, and contextual advertisement. The predictive performance of models in literature varies quite broadly, from over 90% to under 40%. In this work we study which underlying...... strong influence on the accuracy of prediction. Finally we reveal that the exploration of new locations is an important factor in human mobility, and we measure that on average 20-25% of transitions are to new places, and approx. 70% of locations are visited only once. We discuss how these mechanisms...... are important factors limiting our ability to predict human mobility....

  8. Homogenous photocatalytic decontamination of prion infected stainless steel and titanium surfaces.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berberidou, Chrysanthi; Xanthopoulos, Konstantinos; Paspaltsis, Ioannis; Lourbopoulos, Athanasios; Polyzoidou, Eleni; Sklaviadis, Theodoros; Poulios, Ioannis

    2013-01-01

    Prions are notorious for their extraordinary resistance to traditional methods of decontamination, rendering their transmission a public health risk. Iatrogenic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (iCJD) via contaminated surgical instruments and medical devices has been verified both experimentally and clinically. Standard methods for prion inactivation by sodium hydroxide or sodium hypochlorite have failed, in some cases, to fully remove prion infectivity, while they are often impractical for routine applications. Prion accumulation in peripheral tissues and indications of human-to-human bloodborne prion transmission, highlight the need for novel, efficient, yet user-friendly methods of prion inactivation. Here we show both in vitro and in vivo that homogenous photocatalytic oxidation, mediated by the photo-Fenton reagent, has the potential to inactivate the pathological prion isoform adsorbed on metal substrates. Photocatalytic oxidation with 224 μg mL(-1) Fe (3+), 500 μg mL(-1) h(-1) H 2O 2, UV-A for 480 min lead to 100% survival in golden Syrian hamsters after intracranial implantation of stainless steel wires infected with the 263K prion strain. Interestingly, photocatalytic treatment of 263K infected titanium wires, under the same experimental conditions, prolonged the survival interval significantly, but failed to eliminate infectivity, a result that we correlate with the increased adsorption of PrP(Sc) on titanium, in comparison to stainless steel. Our findings strongly indicate that our, user--and environmentally--friendly protocol can be safely applied to the decontamination of prion infected stainless steel surfaces.

  9. Yeast prions assembly and propagation: contributions of the prion and non-prion moieties and the nature of assemblies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kabani, Mehdi; Melki, Ronald

    2011-01-01

    Yeast prions are self-perpetuating protein aggregates that are at the origin of heritable and transmissible non-Mendelian phenotypic traits. Among these, [PSI+], [URE3] and [PIN+] are the most well documented prions and arise from the assembly of Sup35p, Ure2p and Rnq1p, respectively, into insoluble fibrillar assemblies. Fibril assembly depends on the presence of N- or C-terminal prion domains (PrDs) which are not homologous in sequence but share unusual amino-acid compositions, such as enrichment in polar residues (glutamines and asparagines) or the presence of oligopeptide repeats. Purified PrDs form amyloid fibrils that can convert prion-free cells to the prion state upon transformation. Nonetheless, isolated PrDs and full-length prion proteins have different aggregation, structural and infectious properties. In addition, mutations in the "non-prion" domains (non-PrDs) of Sup35p, Ure2p and Rnq1p were shown to affect their prion properties in vitro and in vivo. Despite these evidences, the implication of the functional non-PrDs in fibril assembly and prion propagation has been mostly overlooked. In this review, we discuss the contribution of non-PrDs to prion assemblies, and the structure-function relationship in prion infectivity in the light of recent findings on Sup35p and Ure2p assembly into infectious fibrils from our laboratory and others.

  10. Rebels with a cause: molecular features and physiological consequences of yeast prions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garcia, David M; Jarosz, Daniel F

    2014-02-01

    Prions are proteins that convert between structurally and functionally distinct states, at least one of which is self-perpetuating. The prion fold templates the conversion of native protein, altering its structure and function, and thus serves as a protein-based element of inheritance. Molecular chaperones ensure that these prion aggregates are divided and faithfully passed from mother cells to their daughters. Prions were originally identified as the cause of several rare neurodegenerative diseases in mammals, but the last decade has brought great progress in understanding their broad importance in biology and evolution. Most prion proteins regulate information flow in signaling networks, or otherwise affect gene expression. Consequently, switching into and out of prion states creates diverse new traits – heritable changes based on protein structure rather than nucleic acid. Despite intense study of the molecular mechanisms of this paradigm-shifting, epigenetic mode of inheritance, many key questions remain. Recent studies in yeast that support the view that prions are common, often beneficial elements of inheritance that link environmental stress to the appearance of new traits.

  11. A prolonged chronological lifespan is an unexpected benefit of the [PSI+] prion in yeast.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Kai; Melki, Ronald; Kabani, Mehdi

    2017-01-01

    Self-replicating 'proteinaceous infectious particles' or prions are responsible for complex heritable traits in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Our current understanding of the biology of yeast prions stems from studies mostly done in the context of actively dividing cells in optimal laboratory growth conditions. Evidence suggest that fungal prions exist in the wild where most cells are in a non-dividing quiescent state, because of imperfect growth conditions, scarcity of nutrients and competition. We know little about the faithful transmission of yeast prions in such conditions and their physiological consequences throughout the lifespan of yeast cells. We addressed this issue for the [PSI+] prion that results from the self-assembly of the translation release factor Sup35p into insoluble fibrillar aggregates. [PSI+] leads to increased nonsense suppression and confers phenotypic plasticity in response to environmental fluctuations. Here, we report that while [PSI+] had little to no effect on growth per se, it dramatically improved the survival of yeast cells in stationary phase. Remarkably, prolonged chronological lifespan persisted even after [PSI+] was cured from the cells, suggesting that prions may facilitate the acquisition of complex new traits. Such an important selective advantage may contribute to the evolutionary conservation of the prion-forming ability of Sup35p orthologues in distantly related yeast species.

  12. A prolonged chronological lifespan is an unexpected benefit of the [PSI+] prion in yeast.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kai Wang

    Full Text Available Self-replicating 'proteinaceous infectious particles' or prions are responsible for complex heritable traits in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Our current understanding of the biology of yeast prions stems from studies mostly done in the context of actively dividing cells in optimal laboratory growth conditions. Evidence suggest that fungal prions exist in the wild where most cells are in a non-dividing quiescent state, because of imperfect growth conditions, scarcity of nutrients and competition. We know little about the faithful transmission of yeast prions in such conditions and their physiological consequences throughout the lifespan of yeast cells. We addressed this issue for the [PSI+] prion that results from the self-assembly of the translation release factor Sup35p into insoluble fibrillar aggregates. [PSI+] leads to increased nonsense suppression and confers phenotypic plasticity in response to environmental fluctuations. Here, we report that while [PSI+] had little to no effect on growth per se, it dramatically improved the survival of yeast cells in stationary phase. Remarkably, prolonged chronological lifespan persisted even after [PSI+] was cured from the cells, suggesting that prions may facilitate the acquisition of complex new traits. Such an important selective advantage may contribute to the evolutionary conservation of the prion-forming ability of Sup35p orthologues in distantly related yeast species.

  13. A brief history of prions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zabel, Mark D.; Reid, Crystal

    2015-01-01

    Proteins were described as distinct biological molecules and their significance in cellular processes was recognized as early as the 18th century. At the same time, Spanish shepherds observed a disease that compelled their Merino sheep to pathologically scrape against fences, a defining clinical sign that led to the disease being named scrapie. In the late 19th century, Robert Koch published his postulates for defining causative agents of disease. In the early 20th century, pathologists Creutzfeldt and Jakob described a neurodegenerative disease that would later be included with scrapie into a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). Later that century, mounting evidence compelled a handful of scientists to betray the prevailing biological dogma governing pathogen replication that Watson and Crick so convincingly explained by cracking the genetic code just two decades earlier. Because TSEs seemed to defy these new rules, J.S. Griffith theorized mechanisms by which a pathogenic protein could encipher its own replication blueprint without a genetic code. Stanley Prusiner called this proteinaceous infectious pathogen a prion. Here we offer a concise account of the discovery of prions, the causative agent of TSEs, in the wider context of protein biochemistry and infectious disease. We highlight the discovery of prions in yeast and discuss the implication of prions as epigenomic carriers of biological and pathological information. We also consider expanding the prion hypothesis to include other proteins whose alternate isoforms confer new biological or pathological properties. PMID:26449713

  14. Screening of intact yeasts and cell extracts to reduce Scrapie prions during biotransformation of food waste.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huyben, David; Boqvist, Sofia; Passoth, Volkmar; Renström, Lena; Allard Bengtsson, Ulrika; Andréoletti, Olivier; Kiessling, Anders; Lundh, Torbjörn; Vågsholm, Ivar

    2018-02-08

    Yeasts can be used to convert organic food wastes to protein-rich animal feed in order to recapture nutrients. However, the reuse of animal-derived waste poses a risk for the transmission of infectious prions that can cause neurodegeneration and fatality in humans and animals. The aim of this study was to investigate the ability of yeasts to reduce prion activity during the biotransformation of waste substrates-thereby becoming a biosafety hurdle in such a circular food system. During pre-screening, 30 yeast isolates were spiked with Classical Scrapie prions and incubated for 72 h in casein substrate, as a waste substitute. Based on reduced Scrapie seeding activity, waste biotransformation and protease activities, intact cells and cell extracts of 10 yeasts were further tested. Prion analysis showed that five yeast species reduced Scrapie seeding activity by approximately 1 log10 or 90%. Cryptococcus laurentii showed the most potential to reduce prion activity since both intact and extracted cells reduced Scrapie by 1 log10 and achieved the highest protease activity. These results show that select forms of yeast can act as a prion hurdle during the biotransformation of waste. However, the limited ability of yeasts to reduce prion activity warrants caution as a sole barrier to transmission as higher log reductions are needed before using waste-cultured yeast in circular food systems.

  15. The Prion Protein Preference of Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Subtypes*

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klemm, Helen M. J.; Welton, Jeremy M.; Masters, Colin L.; Klug, Genevieve M.; Boyd, Alison; Hill, Andrew F.; Collins, Steven J.; Lawson, Victoria A.

    2012-01-01

    Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is the most prevalent manifestation of the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies or prion diseases affecting humans. The disease encompasses a spectrum of clinical phenotypes that have been correlated with molecular subtypes that are characterized by the molecular mass of the protease-resistant fragment of the disease-related conformation of the prion protein and a polymorphism at codon 129 of the gene encoding the prion protein. A cell-free assay of prion protein misfolding was used to investigate the ability of these sporadic CJD molecular subtypes to propagate using brain-derived sources of the cellular prion protein (PrPC). This study confirmed the presence of three distinct sporadic CJD molecular subtypes with PrPC substrate requirements that reflected their codon 129 associations in vivo. However, the ability of a sporadic CJD molecular subtype to use a specific PrPC substrate was not determined solely by codon 129 as the efficiency of prion propagation was also influenced by the composition of the brain tissue from which the PrPC substrate was sourced, thus indicating that nuances in PrPC or additional factors may determine sporadic CJD subtype. The results of this study will aid in the design of diagnostic assays that can detect prion disease across the diversity of sporadic CJD subtypes. PMID:22930754

  16. Enhancing human understanding through intelligent explanations

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mioch, T.; Harbers, M.; Doesburg, W.A. van; Bosch, K. van den

    2007-01-01

    Ambient systems that explain their actions promote the user's understanding as they give the user more insight in the e®ects of their behavior on the environment. In order to provide individualized intelligent explanations, we need not only to evaluate a user's observable behavior, but we also need

  17. The tip of the iceberg: RNA-binding proteins with prion-like domains in neurodegenerative disease

    Science.gov (United States)

    King, Oliver D.; Gitler, Aaron D.; Shorter, James

    2012-01-01

    Prions are self-templating protein conformers that are naturally transmitted between individuals and promote phenotypic change. In yeast, prion-encoded phenotypes can be beneficial, neutral or deleterious depending upon genetic background and environmental conditions. A distinctive and portable ‘prion domain’ enriched in asparagine, glutamine, tyrosine and glycine residues unifies the majority of yeast prion proteins. Deletion of this domain precludes prionogenesis and appending this domain to reporter proteins can confer prionogenicity. An algorithm designed to detect prion domains has successfully identified 19 domains that can confer prion behavior. Scouring the human genome with this algorithm enriches a select group of RNA-binding proteins harboring a canonical RNA recognition motif (RRM) and a putative prion domain. Indeed, of 210 human RRM-bearing proteins, 29 have a putative prion domain, and 12 of these are in the top 60 prion candidates in the entire genome. Startlingly, these RNA-binding prion candidates are inexorably emerging, one by one, in the pathology and genetics of devastating neurodegenerative disorders, including: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-positive inclusions (FTLD-U), Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease. For example, FUS and TDP-43, which rank 1st and 10th among RRM-bearing prion candidates, form cytoplasmic inclusions in the degenerating motor neurons of ALS patients and mutations in TDP-43 and FUS cause familial ALS. Recently, perturbed RNA-binding proteostasis of TAF15, which is the 2nd ranked RRM-bearing prion candidate, has been connected with ALS and FTLD-U. We strongly suspect that we have now merely reached the tip of the iceberg. We predict that additional RNA-binding prion candidates identified by our algorithm will soon surface as genetic modifiers or causes of diverse neurodegenerative conditions. Indeed, simple prion-like transfer mechanisms involving the

  18. Global Environmental Change : Understanding the Human Dimensions

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Stern, Paul C; Druckman, Daniel; Young, Oran R; National Research Council; National Academy of Sciences; Stern, Paul C; Druckman, Daniel

    ... on the Human Dimensions of Global Change Commission on the Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1992 Copyrightthe cannot be not from book, paper however, version for formatting, original authoritative the typesetting-specific the as from created publication files ...

  19. Global environmental change: understanding the human dimensions

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Stern, Paul C; Young, Oran R; Druckman, Daniel

    ... on the Human Dimensions of Global Change Commission on the Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1992 Copyrightthe cannot be not from book, paper however, version for formatting, original authoritative the typesetting-specific the as from created publication files ...

  20. Fast human behavior analysis for scene understanding

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Lao, W.

    2011-01-01

    Human behavior analysis has become an active topic of great interest and relevance for a number of applications and areas of research. The research in recent years has been considerably driven by the growing level of criminal behavior in large urban areas and increase of terroristic actions. Also,

  1. Cognitive neuroscience robotics A synthetic approaches to human understanding

    CERN Document Server

    Ishiguro, Hiroshi; Asada, Minoru; Osaka, Mariko; Fujikado, Takashi

    2016-01-01

    Cognitive Neuroscience Robotics is the first introductory book on this new interdisciplinary area. This book consists of two volumes, the first of which, Synthetic Approaches to Human Understanding, advances human understanding from a robotics or engineering point of view. The second, Analytic Approaches to Human Understanding, addresses related subjects in cognitive science and neuroscience. These two volumes are intended to complement each other in order to more comprehensively investigate human cognitive functions, to develop human-friendly information and robot technology (IRT) systems, and to understand what kind of beings we humans are. Volume A describes how human cognitive functions can be replicated in artificial systems such as robots, and investigates how artificial systems could acquire intelligent behaviors through interaction with others and their environment.

  2. Rapid and Highly Sensitive Detection of Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Abnormal Prion Protein on Steel Surfaces by Protein Misfolding Cyclic Amplification: Application to Prion Decontamination Studies.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maxime Belondrade

    Full Text Available The prevalence of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD in the population remains uncertain, although it has been estimated that 1 in 2000 people in the United Kingdom are positive for abnormal prion protein (PrPTSE by a recent survey of archived appendix tissues. The prominent lymphotropism of vCJD prions raises the possibility that some surgical procedures may be at risk of iatrogenic vCJD transmission in healthcare facilities. It is therefore vital that decontamination procedures applied to medical devices before their reprocessing are thoroughly validated. A current limitation is the lack of a rapid model permissive to human prions. Here, we developed a prion detection assay based on protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA technology combined with stainless-steel wire surfaces as carriers of prions (Surf-PMCA. This assay allowed the specific detection of minute quantities (10-8 brain dilution of either human vCJD or ovine scrapie PrPTSE adsorbed onto a single steel wire, within a two week timeframe. Using Surf-PMCA we evaluated the performance of several reference and commercially available prion-specific decontamination procedures. Surprisingly, we found the efficiency of several marketed reagents to remove human vCJD PrPTSE was lower than expected. Overall, our results demonstrate that Surf-PMCA can be used as a rapid and ultrasensitive assay for the detection of human vCJD PrPTSE adsorbed onto a metallic surface, therefore facilitating the development and validation of decontamination procedures against human prions.

  3. Genetic prion disease: no role for the immune system in disease pathogenesis?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Friedman-Levi, Yael; Binyamin, Orli; Frid, Kati; Ovadia, Haim; Gabizon, Ruth

    2014-08-01

    Prion diseases, which can manifest by transmissible, sporadic or genetic etiologies, share several common features, such as a fatal neurodegenerative outcome and the aberrant accumulation of proteinase K (PK)-resistant PrP forms in the CNS. In infectious prion diseases, such as scrapie in mice, prions first replicate in immune organs, then invade the CNS via ascending peripheral tracts, finally causing death. Accelerated neuroinvasion and death occurs when activated prion-infected immune cells infiltrate into the CNS, as is the case for scrapie-infected mice induced for experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a CNS inflammatory insult. To establish whether the immune system plays such a central role also in genetic prion diseases, we induced EAE in TgMHu2ME199K mice, a line mimicking for late onset genetic Creutzfeldt Jacob disease (gCJD), a human prion disease. We show here that EAE induction of TgMHu2ME199K mice neither accelerated nor aggravated prion disease manifestation. Concomitantly, we present evidence that PK-resistant PrP forms were absent from CNS immune infiltrates, and most surprisingly also from lymph nodes and spleens of TgMHu2ME199K mice at all ages and stages of disease. These results imply that the mechanism of genetic prion disease differs widely from that of the infectious presentation, and that the conversion of mutant PrPs into PK resistant forms occurs mostly/only in the CNS. If the absence of pathogenic PrP forms form immune organs is also true for gCJD patients, it may suggest their blood is devoid of prion infectivity. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  4. Prion diseases of the brain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lutz, Kira; Urbach, Horst

    2015-01-01

    The prion diseases of the brain, especially Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, are rare fatal neurodegenerative disorders. A definitive CJD diagnosis is currently only possible by a brain biopsy or post mortem autopsy. The diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is based on clinical signs, pathognomonic EEG, on typical MRI findings and the examination of the cerebrospinal fluid. Using the MRI the diagnosis Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease can be confirmed or excluded with high certainty. The MRI examination should contain diffusion-weighted and FLAIR imaging sequences. This review article provides an overview of the prion diseases of the brain with the corresponding imaging findings.

  5. Prions And Prion Diseases | Obi | African Journal of Clinical and ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Patients also may experience involuntary jerking movements called myoclonus, unusual sensation, insomnia, and confusion or memory problems. In the later stages of the disease, patients may have severe mental impairment (dementia) and may lose the ability to move or speak. Well known prion diseases include scrapie ...

  6. Quinacrine reactivity with prion proteins and prion-derived peptides

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Zawada, Zbigniew; Šafařík, Martin; Dvořáková, E.; Janoušková, O.; Březinová, Anna; Stibor, Ivan; Holada, K.; Bouř, Petr; Hlaváček, Jan; Šebestík, Jaroslav

    2013-01-01

    Roč. 44, č. 5 (2013), s. 1279-1292 ISSN 0939-4451 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA203/07/1517 Institutional support: RVO:61388963 Keywords : quinacrine * prion protein and peptide model reactions * solid phase and recombinant synthesis Subject RIV: CE - Biochemistry Impact factor: 3.653, year: 2013

  7. Prion protein self-interaction in prion disease therapy approaches

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rigter, A.; Priem, J.; Langeveld, J.P.M.; Bossers, A.

    2011-01-01

    Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases are unique disorders that are not caused by infectious micro-organisms (bacteria or fungi), viruses or parasites, but rather seem to be the result of an infectious protein. TSEs are comprised of fatal neurodegenerative disorders

  8. Prion subcellular fractionation reveals infectivity spectrum, with a high titre-low PrPres level disparity

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lewis Victoria

    2012-04-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Prion disease transmission and pathogenesis are linked to misfolded, typically protease resistant (PrPres conformers of the normal cellular prion protein (PrPC, with the former posited to be the principal constituent of the infectious 'prion'. Unexplained discrepancies observed between detectable PrPres and infectivity levels exemplify the complexity in deciphering the exact biophysical nature of prions and those host cell factors, if any, which contribute to transmission efficiency. In order to improve our understanding of these important issues, this study utilized a bioassay validated cell culture model of prion infection to investigate discordance between PrPres levels and infectivity titres at a subcellular resolution. Findings Subcellular fractions enriched in lipid rafts or endoplasmic reticulum/mitochondrial marker proteins were equally highly efficient at prion transmission, despite lipid raft fractions containing up to eight times the levels of detectable PrPres. Brain homogenate infectivity was not differentially enhanced by subcellular fraction-specific co-factors, and proteinase K pre-treatment of selected fractions modestly, but equally reduced infectivity. Only lipid raft associated infectivity was enhanced by sonication. Conclusions This study authenticates a subcellular disparity in PrPres and infectivity levels, and eliminates simultaneous divergence of prion strains as the explanation for this phenomenon. On balance, the results align best with the concept that transmission efficiency is influenced more by intrinsic characteristics of the infectious prion, rather than cellular microenvironment conditions or absolute PrPres levels.

  9. A closer look at prion strains

    Science.gov (United States)

    Solforosi, Laura; Milani, Michela; Mancini, Nicasio; Clementi, Massimo; Burioni, Roberto

    2013-01-01

    Prions are infectious proteins that are responsible for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) and consist primarily of scrapie prion protein (PrPSc), a pathogenic isoform of the host-encoded cellular prion protein (PrPC). The absence of nucleic acids as essential components of the infectious prions is the most striking feature associated to these diseases. Additionally, different prion strains have been isolated from animal diseases despite the lack of DNA or RNA molecules. Mounting evidence suggests that prion-strain-specific features segregate with different PrPSc conformational and aggregation states. Strains are of practical relevance in prion diseases as they can drastically differ in many aspects, such as incubation period, PrPSc biochemical profile (e.g., electrophoretic mobility and glycoform ratio) and distribution of brain lesions. Importantly, such different features are maintained after inoculation of a prion strain into genetically identical hosts and are relatively stable across serial passages. This review focuses on the characterization of prion strains and on the wide range of important implications that the study of prion strains involves. PMID:23357828

  10. Soluble Aβ aggregates can inhibit prion propagation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sarell, Claire J; Quarterman, Emma; Yip, Daniel C-M; Terry, Cassandra; Nicoll, Andrew J; Wadsworth, Jonathan D F; Farrow, Mark A; Walsh, Dominic M; Collinge, John

    2017-11-01

    Mammalian prions cause lethal neurodegenerative diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and consist of multi-chain assemblies of misfolded cellular prion protein (PrP C ). Ligands that bind to PrP C can inhibit prion propagation and neurotoxicity. Extensive prior work established that certain soluble assemblies of the Alzheimer's disease (AD)-associated amyloid β-protein (Aβ) can tightly bind to PrP C , and that this interaction may be relevant to their toxicity in AD. Here, we investigated whether such soluble Aβ assemblies might, conversely, have an inhibitory effect on prion propagation. Using cellular models of prion infection and propagation and distinct Aβ preparations, we found that the form of Aβ assemblies which most avidly bound to PrP in vitro also inhibited prion infection and propagation. By contrast, forms of Aβ which exhibit little or no binding to PrP were unable to attenuate prion propagation. These data suggest that soluble aggregates of Aβ can compete with prions for binding to PrP C and emphasize the bidirectional nature of the interplay between Aβ and PrP C in Alzheimer's and prion diseases. Such inhibitory effects of Aβ on prion propagation may contribute to the apparent fall-off in the incidence of sporadic CJD at advanced age where cerebral Aβ deposition is common. © 2017 The Authors.

  11. Use of bovine recombinant prion protein and real-time quaking-induced conversion to detect cattle transmissible mink encephalopathy prions and discriminate classical and atypical L- and H-Type bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hwang, Soyoun; Greenlee, Justin J; Nicholson, Eric M

    2017-01-01

    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.

  12. Genetics Home Reference: prion disease

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... which have overlapping signs and symptoms, include familial Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker syndrome (GSS), and fatal ... Sc . Sporadic forms of prion disease include sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), sporadic fatal insomnia (sFI), and variably protease- ...

  13. The complexity and implications of yeast prion domains

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-01-01

    Prions are infectious proteins with altered conformations converted from otherwise normal host proteins. While there is only one known mammalian prion protein, PrP, a handful of prion proteins have been identified in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Yeast prion proteins usually have a defined region called prion domain (PrD) essential for prion properties, which are typically rich in glutamine (Q) and asparagine (N). Despite sharing several common features, individual yeast PrDs are generally intricate and divergent in their compositional characteristics, which potentially implicates their prion phenotypes, such as prion-mediated transcriptional regulations. PMID:22156731

  14. An insight into the complex prion-prion interaction network in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Du, Zhiqiang; Valtierra, Stephanie; Li, Liming

    2014-01-01

    The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a valuable model system for studying prion-prion interactions as it contains multiple prion proteins. A recent study from our laboratory showed that the existence of Swi1 prion ([SWI(+)]) and overproduction of Swi1 can have strong impacts on the formation of 2 other extensively studied yeast prions, [PSI(+)] and [PIN(+)] ([RNQ(+)]) (Genetics, Vol. 197, 685-700). We showed that a single yeast cell is capable of harboring at least 3 heterologous prion elements and these prions can influence each other's appearance positively and/or negatively. We also showed that during the de novo [PSI(+)] formation process upon Sup35 overproduction, the aggregation patterns of a preexisting inducer ([RNQ(+)] or [SWI(+)]) can undergo significant remodeling from stably transmitted dot-shaped aggregates to aggregates that co-localize with the newly formed Sup35 aggregates that are ring/ribbon/rod- shaped. Such co-localization disappears once the newly formed [PSI(+)] prion stabilizes. Our finding provides strong evidence supporting the "cross-seeding" model for prion-prion interactions and confirms earlier reports that the interactions among different prions and their prion proteins mostly occur at the initiation stages of prionogenesis. Our results also highlight a complex prion interaction network in yeast. We believe that elucidating the mechanism underlying the yeast prion-prion interaction network will not only provide insight into the process of prion de novo generation and propagation in yeast but also shed light on the mechanisms that govern protein misfolding, aggregation, and amyloidogenesis in higher eukaryotes.

  15. Human Computing and Machine Understanding of Human Behavior: A Survey

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pantic, Maja; Pentland, Alex; Nijholt, Antinus; Huang, Thomas; Quek, F.; Yang, Yie

    2006-01-01

    A widely accepted prediction is that computing will move to the background, weaving itself into the fabric of our everyday living spaces and projecting the human user into the foreground. If this prediction is to come true, then next generation computing, which we will call human computing, should

  16. Sod1 deficiency reduces incubation time in mouse models of prion disease.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shaheen Akhtar

    Full Text Available Prion infections, causing neurodegenerative conditions such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and kuru in humans, scrapie in sheep and BSE in cattle are characterised by prolonged and variable incubation periods that are faithfully reproduced in mouse models. Incubation time is partly determined by genetic factors including polymorphisms in the prion protein gene. Quantitative trait loci studies in mice and human genome-wide association studies have confirmed that multiple genes are involved. Candidate gene approaches have also been used and identified App, Il1-r1 and Sod1 as affecting incubation times. In this study we looked for an association between App, Il1-r1 and Sod1 representative SNPs and prion disease incubation time in the Northport heterogeneous stock of mice inoculated with the Chandler/RML prion strain. No association was seen with App, however, significant associations were seen with Il1-r1 (P = 0.02 and Sod1 (P<0.0001 suggesting that polymorphisms at these loci contribute to the natural variation observed in incubation time. Furthermore, following challenge with Chandler/RML, ME7 and MRC2 prion strains, Sod1 deficient mice showed highly significant reductions in incubation time of 20, 13 and 24%, respectively. No differences were detected in Sod1 expression or activity. Our data confirm the protective role of endogenous Sod1 in prion disease.

  17. Prions: the danger of biochemical weapons

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eric Almeida Xavier

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available The knowledge of biotechnology increases the risk of using biochemical weapons for mass destruction. Prions are unprecedented infectious pathogens that cause a group of fatal neurodegenerative diseases by a novel mechanism. They are transmissible particles that are devoid of nucleic acid. Due to their singular characteristics, Prions emerge as potential danger since they can be used in the development of such weapons. Prions cause fatal infectious diseases, and to date there is no therapeutic or prophylactic approach against these diseases. Furthermore, Prions are resistant to food-preparation treatments such as high heat and can find their way from the digestive system into the nervous system; recombinant Prions are infectious either bound to soil particles or in aerosols. Therefore, lethal Prions can be developed by malicious researchers who could use it to attack political enemies since such weapons cause diseases that could be above suspicion.

  18. Development of Object-understanding Among Students in the Humanities

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Lindholm, Morten

    This paper describes a on-going empirical study, inspired by phenomenography, aiming at understanding how students from the humanities learn the concepts of objects and object-orientation during a programming course.  ......This paper describes a on-going empirical study, inspired by phenomenography, aiming at understanding how students from the humanities learn the concepts of objects and object-orientation during a programming course.  ...

  19. Lichens: Unexpected anti-prion agents?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodriguez, Cynthia M.; Bennett, James P.; Johnson, Christopher J.

    2012-01-01

    The prion diseases sheep scrapie and cervid chronic wasting disease are transmitted, in part, via an environmental reservoir of infectivity; prions released from infected animals persist in the environment and can cause disease years later. Central to controlling disease transmission is the identification of methods capable of inactivating these agents on the landscape. We have found that certain lichens, common, ubiquitous, symbiotic organisms, possess a serine protease capable of degrading prion protein (PrP) from prion-infected animals. The protease functions against a range of prion strains from various hosts and reduces levels of abnormal PrP by at least two logs. We have now tested more than 20 lichen species from several geographical locations and from various taxa and found that approximately half of these species degrade PrP. Critical next steps include examining the effect of lichens on prion infectivity and cloning the protease responsible for PrP degradation. The impact of lichens on prions in the environment remains unknown. We speculate that lichens could have the potential to degrade prions when they are shed from infected animals onto lichens or into environments where lichens are abundant. In addition, lichens are frequently consumed by cervids and many other animals and the effect of dietary lichens on prion disease transmission should also be considered.

  20. Investigating the conformational stability of prion strains through a kinetic replication model.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mattia Zampieri

    2009-07-01

    Full Text Available Prion proteins are known to misfold into a range of different aggregated forms, showing different phenotypic and pathological states. Understanding strain specificities is an important problem in the field of prion disease. Little is known about which PrP(Sc structural properties and molecular mechanisms determine prion replication, disease progression and strain phenotype. The aim of this work is to investigate, through a mathematical model, how the structural stability of different aggregated forms can influence the kinetics of prion replication. The model-based results suggest that prion strains with different conformational stability undergoing in vivo replication are characterizable in primis by means of different rates of breakage. A further role seems to be played by the aggregation rate (i.e. the rate at which a prion fibril grows. The kinetic variability introduced in the model by these two parameters allows us to reproduce the different characteristic features of the various strains (e.g., fibrils' mean length and is coherent with all experimental observations concerning strain-specific behavior.

  1. Human computing and machine understanding of human behavior: A survey

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pentland, Alex; Huang, Thomas S.; Huang, Th.S.; Nijholt, Antinus; Pantic, Maja; Pentland, A.

    2007-01-01

    A widely accepted prediction is that computing will move to the background, weaving itself into the fabric of our everyday living spaces and projecting the human user into the foreground. If this prediction is to come true, then next generation computing should be about anticipatory user interfaces

  2. Prion search and cellular prion protein expression in stranded dolphins.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Di Guardo, G; Cocumelli, C; Meoli, R; Barbaro, K; Terracciano, G; Di Francesco, C E; Mazzariol, S; Eleni, C

    2012-01-01

    The recent description of a prion disease (PD) case in a free-ranging bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) prompted us to carry out an extensive search for the disease-associated isoform (PrPSc) of the cellular prion protein (PrPC) in the brain and in a range of lymphoid tissues from 23 striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba), 5 bottlenose dolphins and 2 Risso s dolphins (Grampus griseus) found stranded between 2007 and 2012 along the Italian coastline. Three striped dolphins and one bottlenose dolphin showed microscopic lesions of encephalitis, with no evidence of spongiform brain lesions being detected in any of the 30 free-ranging cetaceans investigated herein. Nevertheless, we could still observe a prominent PrPC immunoreactivity in the brain as well as in lymphoid tissues from these dolphins. Although immunohistochemical and Western blot investigations yielded negative results for PrPSc deposition in all tissues from the dolphins under study, the reported occurrence of a spontaneous PD case in a wild dolphin is an intriguing issue and a matter of concern for both prion biology and intra/inter-species transmissibility, as well as for cetacean conservation medicine.

  3. EXPERIMENTAL SEMIOTICS: AN ENGINE OF DISCOVERY FOR UNDERSTANDING HUMAN COMMUNICATION

    OpenAIRE

    BRUNO GALANTUCCI; GARETH ROBERTS

    2012-01-01

    The recent growth of Experimental Semiotics (ES) offers us a new option to investigate human communication. We briefly introduce ES, presenting results from three themes of research which emerged within it. Then we illustrate the contribution ES can make to the investigation of human communication systems, particularly in comparison with the other existing options. This comparison highlights how ES can provide an engine of discovery for understanding human communication. In fact, in complemen...

  4. Accelerated high fidelity prion amplification within and across prion species barriers.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kristi M Green

    2008-08-01

    Full Text Available Experimental obstacles have impeded our ability to study prion transmission within and, more particularly, between species. Here, we used cervid prion protein expressed in brain extracts of transgenic mice, referred to as Tg(CerPrP, as a substrate for in vitro generation of chronic wasting disease (CWD prions by protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA. Characterization of this infectivity in Tg(CerPrP mice demonstrated that serial PMCA resulted in the high fidelity amplification of CWD prions with apparently unaltered properties. Using similar methods to amplify mouse RML prions and characterize the resulting novel cervid prions, we show that serial PMCA abrogated a transmission barrier that required several hundred days of adaptation and subsequent stabilization in Tg(CerPrP mice. While both approaches produced cervid prions with characteristics distinct from CWD, the subtly different properties of the resulting individual prion isolates indicated that adaptation of mouse RML prions generated multiple strains following inter-species transmission. Our studies demonstrate that combined transgenic mouse and PMCA approaches not only expedite intra- and inter-species prion transmission, but also provide a facile means of generating and characterizing novel prion strains.

  5. Neurotoxic Antibodies against the Prion Protein Do Not Trigger Prion Replication.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karl Frontzek

    Full Text Available Prions are the infectious agents causing transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE, progressive, inexorably lethal neurological diseases. Antibodies targeting the globular domain (GD of the cellular prion protein PrPC trigger a neurotoxic syndrome morphologically and molecularly similar to prion disease. This phenomenon raises the question whether such antibodies induce infectious prions de novo. Here we exposed cerebellar organotypic cultured slices (COCS to the neurotoxic antibody, POM1. We then inoculated COCS homogenates into tga20 mice, which overexpress PrPC and are commonly utilized as sensitive indicators of prion infectivity. None of the mice inoculated with COCS-derived lysates developed any signs of disease, and all mice survived for at least 200 days post-inoculation. In contrast, all mice inoculated with bona fide prions succumbed to TSE after 55-95 days. Post-mortem analyses did not reveal any signs of prion pathology in mice inoculated with POM1-COCS lysates. Also, lysates from POM1-exposed COCS were unable to convert PrP by quaking. Hence, anti-GD antibodies do not catalyze the generation of prion infectivity. These data indicate that prion replication can be separated from prion toxicity, and suggest that anti-GD antibodies exert toxicity by acting downstream of prion replication.

  6. PrP P102L and Nearby Lysine Mutations Promote Spontaneous In Vitro Formation of Transmissible Prions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kraus, Allison; Raymond, Gregory J; Race, Brent; Campbell, Katrina J; Hughson, Andrew G; Anson, Kelsie J; Raymond, Lynne D; Caughey, Byron

    2017-11-01

    Accumulation of fibrillar protein aggregates is a hallmark of many diseases. While numerous proteins form fibrils by prion-like seeded polymerization in vitro , only some are transmissible and pathogenic in vivo To probe the structural features that confer transmissibility to prion protein (PrP) fibrils, we have analyzed synthetic PrP amyloids with or without the human prion disease-associated P102L mutation. The formation of infectious prions from PrP molecules in vitro has required cofactors and/or unphysiological denaturing conditions. Here, we demonstrate that, under physiologically compatible conditions without cofactors, the P102L mutation in recombinant hamster PrP promoted prion formation when seeded by minute amounts of scrapie prions in vitro Surprisingly, combination of the P102L mutation with charge-neutralizing substitutions of four nearby lysines promoted spontaneous prion formation. When inoculated into hamsters, both of these types of synthetic prions initiated substantial accumulation of prion seeding activity and protease-resistant PrP without transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) clinical signs or notable glial activation. Our evidence suggests that PrP's centrally located proline and lysine residues act as conformational switches in the in vitro formation of transmissible PrP amyloids. IMPORTANCE Many diseases involve the damaging accumulation of specific misfolded proteins in thread-like aggregates. These threads (fibrils) are capable of growing on the ends by seeding the refolding and incorporation of the normal form of the given protein. In many cases such aggregates can be infectious and propagate like prions when transmitted from one individual host to another. Some transmitted aggregates can cause fatal disease, as with human iatrogenic prion diseases, while other aggregates appear to be relatively innocuous. The factors that distinguish infectious and pathogenic protein aggregates from more innocuous ones are poorly understood

  7. Classical Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy by Transmission of H-Type Prion in Homologous Prion Protein Context

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andréoletti, Olivier; Lacroux, Caroline; Prieto, Irene; Lorenzo, Patricia; Larska, Magdalena; Baron, Thierry; Espinosa, Juan-Carlos

    2011-01-01

    Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and BSE-related disorders have been associated with a single major prion strain. Recently, 2 atypical, presumably sporadic forms of BSE have been associated with 2 distinct prion strains that are characterized mainly by distinct Western blot profiles of abnormal protease-resistant prion protein (PrPres), named high-type (BSE-H) and low-type (BSE-L), that also differed from classical BSE. We characterized 5 atypical BSE-H isolates by analyzing their molecular and neuropathologic properties during transmission in transgenic mice expressing homologous bovine prion protein. Unexpectedly, in several inoculated animals, strain features emerged that were highly similar to those of classical BSE agent. These findings demonstrate the capability of an atypical bovine prion to acquire classical BSE–like properties during propagation in a homologous bovine prion protein context and support the view that the epidemic BSE agent could have originated from such a cattle prion. PMID:21888788

  8. Localization of A11-reactive oligomeric species in prion diseases

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Aidt, Frederik H; Hasholt, Lis F; Christiansen, Michael

    2013-01-01

    To investigate in prion diseases the in-situ localization of prion protein oligomers sharing a common epitope with amyloid oligomers involved in a range of neurodegenerative diseases.......To investigate in prion diseases the in-situ localization of prion protein oligomers sharing a common epitope with amyloid oligomers involved in a range of neurodegenerative diseases....

  9. Instability of familial spongiform encephalopathy-related prion mutants

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Watanabe, Yasuko; Hiraoka, Wakako; Shimoyama, Yuhei; Horiuchi, Motohiro; Kuwabara, Mikinori; Inanami, Osamu

    2008-01-01

    We examined the influence of D177N (D178N in humans) mutation on the conformational stability of the S2 region of moPrP C with varying pHs by using the SDSL-ESR technique. The ESR spectrum of D177N at pH 7.5 was narrower than that of Y161R1, referred to as WT * . The ESR spectrum of D177N did not change when pH in the solution decreased to pH 4.0. Our results suggested that the disappearance of a salt bridge (D177-R163) induced the increase in the instability of S2 region. Moreover, the line shape of the ESR spectrum obtained from H176S neighboring the salt bridge linked to the S2 region was similar to D177N. These results indicate that the protonation of H176 is strongly associated with the stability of S2 region. These findings are important for understanding the mechanism by which the disruption of the salt bridge in the S2 region forms the pathogenic PrP Sc structure in hereditary prion disease

  10. Covalent surface modification of prions: a mass spectrometry-based means of detecting distinctive structural features of prion strains

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prions (PrPSc) are molecular pathogens that are able to convert the isosequential normal cellular prion protein (PrPC) into a prion. The only demonstrated differences between PrPC and PrPSc is conformational, they are isoforms. A given host can be infected by more than one kind or strain of prion. F...

  11. The number and transmission of [PSI] prion seeds (Propagons in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lee J Byrne

    Full Text Available Yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae prions are efficiently propagated and the on-going generation and transmission of prion seeds (propagons to daughter cells during cell division ensures a high degree of mitotic stability. The reversible inhibition of the molecular chaperone Hsp104p by guanidine hydrochloride (GdnHCl results in cell division-dependent elimination of yeast prions due to a block in propagon generation and the subsequent dilution out of propagons by cell division.Analysing the kinetics of the GdnHCl-induced elimination of the yeast [PSI+] prion has allowed us to develop novel statistical models that aid our understanding of prion propagation in yeast cells. Here we describe the application of a new stochastic model that allows us to estimate more accurately the mean number of propagons in a [PSI+] cell. To achieve this accuracy we also experimentally determine key cell reproduction parameters and show that the presence of the [PSI+] prion has no impact on these key processes. Additionally, we experimentally determine the proportion of propagons transmitted to a daughter cell and show this reflects the relative cell volume of mother and daughter cells at cell division.While propagon generation is an ATP-driven process, the partition of propagons to daughter cells occurs by passive transfer via the distribution of cytoplasm. Furthermore, our new estimates of n(0, the number of propagons per cell (500-1000, are some five times higher than our previous estimates and this has important implications for our understanding of the inheritance of the [PSI+] and the spontaneous formation of prion-free cells.

  12. Prion replication without host adaptation during interspecies transmissions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bian, Jifeng; Khaychuk, Vadim; Angers, Rachel C; Fernández-Borges, Natalia; Vidal, Enric; Meyerett-Reid, Crystal; Kim, Sehun; Calvi, Carla L; Bartz, Jason C; Hoover, Edward A; Agrimi, Umberto; Richt, Jürgen A; Castilla, Joaquín; Telling, Glenn C

    2017-01-31

    Adaptation of prions to new species is thought to reflect the capacity of the host-encoded cellular form of the prion protein (PrP C ) to selectively propagate optimized prion conformations from larger ensembles generated in the species of origin. Here we describe an alternate replicative process, termed nonadaptive prion amplification (NAPA), in which dominant conformers bypass this requirement during particular interspecies transmissions. To model susceptibility of horses to prions, we produced transgenic (Tg) mice expressing cognate PrP C Although disease transmission to only a subset of infected TgEq indicated a significant barrier to EqPrP C conversion, the resulting horse prions unexpectedly failed to cause disease upon further passage to TgEq. TgD expressing deer PrP C was similarly refractory to deer prions from diseased TgD infected with mink prions. In both cases, the resulting prions transmitted to mice expressing PrP C from the species of prion origin, demonstrating that transmission barrier eradication of the originating prions was ephemeral and adaptation superficial in TgEq and TgD. Horse prions produced in vitro by protein misfolding cyclic amplification of mouse prions using horse PrP C also failed to infect TgEq but retained tropism for wild-type mice. Concordant patterns of neuropathology and prion deposition in susceptible mice infected with NAPA prions and the corresponding prion of origin confirmed preservation of strain properties. The comparable responses of both prion types to guanidine hydrochloride denaturation indicated this occurs because NAPA precludes selection of novel prion conformations. Our findings provide insights into mechanisms regulating interspecies prion transmission and a framework to reconcile puzzling epidemiological features of certain prion disorders.

  13. Understanding "Human" Waves: Exploiting the Physics in a Viral Video

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ferrer-Roca, Chantal

    2018-01-01

    Waves are a relevant part of physics that students find difficult to grasp, even in those cases in which wave propagation kinematics can be visualized. This may hinder a proper understanding of sound, light or quantum physics phenomena that are explained using a wave model. So-called "human" waves, choreographed by people, have proved to…

  14. A New World Information Order for Better Human Understanding.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Masmoudi, Mustapha

    Many studies, particularly the report of the International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems (ICSCP), have tried to define a new world information order for better human understanding. What appears to be needed is the establishment of a new, open-ended, conceptual framework leading to a freer, more efficient, more equitable,…

  15. Human activity understanding for robot-assisted living

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hu, N.

    2016-01-01

    This thesis investigated the problem of understanding human activities, at different levels of granularity and taking into account both the variability in activities and annotator disagreement. To be able to capture the large variations within each of the action classes, we propose a model that uses

  16. Prion protein immunocytochemistry helps to establish the true incidence of prion diseases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lantos, P L; McGill, I S; Janota, I; Doey, L J; Collinge, J; Bruce, M T; Whatley, S A; Anderton, B H; Clinton, J; Roberts, G W

    1992-11-23

    Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and Gerstmann-Strüssler-Scheinker disease (GSSD) are transmissible spongiform encephalopathies or prion diseases affecting man. It has been reported that prion diseases may occur without the histological hallmarks of spongiform encephalopathies: vacuolation of the cerebral grey matter, neuronal loss and astrocytosis. These cases without characteristic neuropathology may go undiagnosed and consequently the true incidence of transmissible dementias is likely to have been under-estimated. Immunocytochemistry using antibodies to prion protein gives positive staining of these cases, albeit the pattern of immunostaining differs from that seen in typical forms. Accumulation of prion protein is a molecular hallmark of prion diseases, and thus a reproducible, speedy and cost-efficient immunocytochemical screening of unusual dementias may help to establish the true incidence of prion diseases.

  17. De novo generation of infectious prions with bacterially expressed recombinant prion protein.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Zhihong; Zhang, Yi; Wang, Fei; Wang, Xinhe; Xu, Yuanyuan; Yang, Huaiyi; Yu, Guohua; Yuan, Chonggang; Ma, Jiyan

    2013-12-01

    The prion hypothesis is strongly supported by the fact that prion infectivity and the pathogenic conformer of prion protein (PrP) are simultaneously propagated in vitro by the serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification (sPMCA). However, due to sPMCA's enormous amplification power, whether an infectious prion can be formed de novo with bacterially expressed recombinant PrP (rPrP) remains to be satisfactorily resolved. To address this question, we performed unseeded sPMCA with rPrP in a laboratory that has never been exposed to any native prions. Two types of proteinase K (PK)-resistant and self-perpetuating recombinant PrP conformers (rPrP-res) with PK-resistant cores of 17 or 14 kDa were generated. A bioassay revealed that rPrP-res(17kDa) was highly infectious, causing prion disease in wild-type mice with an average survival time of about 172 d. In contrast, rPrP-res(14kDa) completely failed to induce any disease. Our findings reveal that sPMCA is sufficient to initiate various self-perpetuating PK-resistant rPrP conformers, but not all of them possess in vivo infectivity. Moreover, generating an infectious prion in a prion-free environment establishes that an infectious prion can be formed de novo with bacterially expressed rPrP.

  18. Neuronal death induced by misfolded prion protein is due to NAD+ depletion and can be relieved in vitro and in vivo by NAD+ replenishment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Minghai; Ottenberg, Gregory; Sferrazza, Gian Franco; Hubbs, Christopher; Fallahi, Mohammad; Rumbaugh, Gavin; Brantley, Alicia F.

    2015-01-01

    The mechanisms of neuronal death in protein misfolding neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and prion diseases are poorly understood. We used a highly toxic misfolded prion protein (TPrP) model to understand neurotoxicity induced by prion protein misfolding. We show that abnormal autophagy activation and neuronal demise is due to severe, neuron-specific, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) depletion. Toxic prion protein-exposed neuronal cells exhibit dramatic reductions of intracellular NAD+ followed by decreased ATP production, and are completely rescued by treatment with NAD+ or its precursor nicotinamide because of restoration of physiological NAD+ levels. Toxic prion protein-induced NAD+ depletion results from PARP1-independent excessive protein ADP-ribosylations. In vivo, toxic prion protein-induced degeneration of hippocampal neurons is prevented dose-dependently by intracerebral injection of NAD+. Intranasal NAD+ treatment of prion-infected sick mice significantly improves activity and delays motor impairment. Our study reveals NAD+ starvation as a novel mechanism of autophagy activation and neurodegeneration induced by a misfolded amyloidogenic protein. We propose the development of NAD+ replenishment strategies for neuroprotection in prion diseases and possibly other protein misfolding neurodegenerative diseases. PMID:25678560

  19. Assessing transmissible spongiform encephalopathy species barriers with an in vitro prion protein conversion assay

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Christopher J.; Carlson, Christina M.; Morawski, Aaron R.; Manthei, Alyson; Cashman, Neil R.

    2015-01-01

    Studies to understanding interspecies transmission of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs, prion diseases) are challenging in that they typically rely upon lengthy and costly in vivo animal challenge studies. A number of in vitro assays have been developed to aid in measuring prion species barriers, thereby reducing animal use and providing quicker results than animal bioassays. Here, we present the protocol for a rapid in vitroprion conversion assay called the conversion efficiency ratio (CER) assay. In this assay cellular prion protein (PrPC) from an uninfected host brain is denatured at both pH 7.4 and 3.5 to produce two substrates. When the pH 7.4 substrate is incubated with TSE agent, the amount of PrPC that converts to a proteinase K (PK)-resistant state is modulated by the original host’s species barrier to the TSE agent. In contrast, PrPC in the pH 3.5 substrate is misfolded by any TSE agent. By comparing the amount of PK-resistant prion protein in the two substrates, an assessment of the host’s species barrier can be made. We show that the CER assay correctly predicts known prion species barriers of laboratory mice and, as an example, show some preliminary results suggesting that bobcats (Lynx rufus) may be susceptible to white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) chronic wasting disease agent.

  20. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Dendritic Cells during Prion Disease

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mabbott, Neil Andrew; Bradford, Barry Matthew

    2015-01-01

    Prions are a unique group of proteinaceous pathogens which cause neurodegenerative disease and can be transmitted by a variety of exposure routes. After peripheral exposure, the accumulation and replication of prions within secondary lymphoid organs are obligatory for their efficient spread from the periphery to the brain where they ultimately cause neurodegeneration and death. Mononuclear phagocytes (MNP) are a heterogeneous population of dendritic cells (DC) and macrophages. These cells are abundant throughout the body and display a diverse range of roles based on their anatomical locations. For example, some MNP are strategically situated to provide a first line of defence against pathogens by phagocytosing and destroying them. Conventional DC are potent antigen presenting cells and migrate via the lymphatics to the draining lymphoid tissue where they present the antigens to lymphocytes. The diverse roles of MNP are also reflected in various ways in which they interact with prions and in doing so impact on disease pathogenesis. Indeed, some studies suggest that prions exploit conventional DC to infect the host. Here we review our current understanding of the influence of MNP in the pathogenesis of the acquired prion diseases with particular emphasis on the role of conventional DC. PMID:26697507

  1. Small stress molecules inhibit aggregation and neurotoxicity of prion peptide 106-126

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kanapathipillai, Mathumai; Ku, Sook Hee; Girigoswami, Koyeli; Park, Chan Beum

    2008-01-01

    In prion diseases, the posttranslational modification of host-encoded prion protein PrP c yields a high β-sheet content modified protein PrP sc , which further polymerizes into amyloid fibrils. PrP106-126 initiates the conformational changes leading to the conversion of PrP c to PrP sc . Molecules that can defunctionalize such peptides can serve as a potential tool in combating prion diseases. In microorganisms during stressed conditions, small stress molecules (SSMs) are formed to prevent protein denaturation and maintain protein stability and function. The effect of such SSMs on PrP106-126 amyloid formation is explored in the present study using turbidity, atomic force microscopy (AFM), and cellular toxicity assay. Turbidity and AFM studies clearly depict that the SSMs-ectoine and mannosylglyceramide (MGA) inhibit the PrP106-126 aggregation. Our study also connotes that ectoine and MGA offer strong resistance to prion peptide-induced toxicity in human neuroblastoma cells, concluding that such molecules can be potential inhibitors of prion aggregation and toxicity

  2. Propagation of Mammalian Prions in Yeast

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Harris, David A

    2006-01-01

    ...: the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This unicellular organism offers a number of potential advantages for the study of prion biology, including rapid generation time, ease of culturing, and facile genetics...

  3. Protein Misfolding Cyclic Amplification of Infectious Prions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moda, Fabio

    2017-01-01

    Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, or prion diseases, are a group of incurable disorders caused by the accumulation of an abnormally folded prion protein (PrP Sc ) in the brain. According to the "protein-only" hypothesis, PrP Sc is the infectious agent able to propagate the disease by acting as a template for the conversion of the correctly folded prion protein (PrP C ) into the pathological isoform. Recently, the mechanism of PrP C conversion has been mimicked in vitro using an innovative technique named protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA). This technology represents a great tool for studying diverse aspects of prion biology in the field of basic research and diagnosis. Moreover, PMCA can be expanded for the study of the misfolding process associated to other neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  4. Embodied artificial agents for understanding human social cognition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wykowska, Agnieszka; Chaminade, Thierry; Cheng, Gordon

    2016-05-05

    In this paper, we propose that experimental protocols involving artificial agents, in particular the embodied humanoid robots, provide insightful information regarding social cognitive mechanisms in the human brain. Using artificial agents allows for manipulation and control of various parameters of behaviour, appearance and expressiveness in one of the interaction partners (the artificial agent), and for examining effect of these parameters on the other interaction partner (the human). At the same time, using artificial agents means introducing the presence of artificial, yet human-like, systems into the human social sphere. This allows for testing in a controlled, but ecologically valid, manner human fundamental mechanisms of social cognition both at the behavioural and at the neural level. This paper will review existing literature that reports studies in which artificial embodied agents have been used to study social cognition and will address the question of whether various mechanisms of social cognition (ranging from lower- to higher-order cognitive processes) are evoked by artificial agents to the same extent as by natural agents, humans in particular. Increasing the understanding of how behavioural and neural mechanisms of social cognition respond to artificial anthropomorphic agents provides empirical answers to the conundrum 'What is a social agent?' © 2016 The Authors.

  5. Biological and social understanding of human nature: biopolitical dimension

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. K. Kostiuchkov

    2014-07-01

    Full Text Available This paper examines the position of the biopolitical nature of man as a biosocial being given supplies of both the two spheres of life – natural, biological and social. The necessity of understanding of human nature, which by definition are bio-social importance of the approach to the definition of man as an integral, binary-konnotovanoyi of the «social individual – a species» which is characterized by symmetrical opposition – upposition social and biological. It was found that the main task of modern political science, and in particular bio-political studies presented appeals to rethink the political picture of the world in order to predict the development of a new order or a new chaos. Understanding the formation of a new global civilization worldview is today one of the most important problems, which is connected with the main problem of the modern world – the task of preserving life on the planet. It is concluded that the contradictions of human nature – between the biological and the social, physical and spiritual, universal and the particular, natural and artificial, rational and emotional – in today’s conditions are extremely sharp. The said situation requires more in-depth scientific analysis of human nature, the study of the structural level as human biosocial system.

  6. Current understanding of mdig/MINA in human cancers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thakur, Chitra; Chen, Fei

    2015-07-01

    Mineral dust-induced gene, mdig has recently been identified and is known to be overexpressed in a majority of human cancers and holds predictive power in the poor prognosis of the disease. Mdig is an environmentally expressed gene that is involved in cell proliferation, neoplastic transformation and immune regulation. With the advancement in deciphering the prognostic role of mdig in human cancers, our understanding on how mdig renders a normal cell to undergo malignant transformation is still very limited. This article reviews the current knowledge of the mdig gene in context to human neoplasias and its relation to the clinico-pathologic factors predicting the outcome of the disease in patients. It also emphasizes on the promising role of mdig that can serve as a potential candidate for biomarker discovery and as a therapeutic target in inflammation and cancers. Considering the recent advances in understanding the underlying mechanisms of tumor formation, more preclinical and clinical research is required to validate the potential of using mdig as a novel biological target of therapeutic and diagnostic value. Expression level of mdig influences the prognosis of several human cancers especially cancers of the breast and lung. Evaluation of mdig in cancers can offer novel biomarker with potential therapeutic interventions for the early assessment of cancer development in patients.

  7. Positive 14-3-3 and tau proteins in a sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease case and a brief perspective of prion diseases in Colombia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Escandón-Vargas, Kevin; Zorrilla-Vaca, Andrés; Corral-Prado, Raúl Heli

    2016-02-24

    Prion diseases are rare neurodegenerative disorders occurring worldwide and affecting both humans and animals. Herein, we present the case of a patient diagnosed with definite sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in Cali, Colombia. Besides neurological examination, 14-3-3 and tau proteins were valuable tools supporting the diagnosis. We also present a brief perspective of the prion diseases reported in Colombia to date. Although the incidence of prion diseases is unknown in Colombia, our literature review revealed that one case of scrapie in 1981 and 29 human sporadic cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease have been documented and published in our country.

  8. Soil clay content underlies prion infection odds

    Science.gov (United States)

    David, Walter W.; Walsh, D.P.; Farnsworth, Matthew L.; Winkelman, D.L.; Miller, M.W.

    2011-01-01

    Environmental factors-especially soil properties-have been suggested as potentially important in the transmission of infectious prion diseases. Because binding to montmorillonite (an aluminosilicate clay mineral) or clay-enriched soils had been shown to enhance experimental prion transmissibility, we hypothesized that prion transmission among mule deer might also be enhanced in ranges with relatively high soil clay content. In this study, we report apparent influences of soil clay content on the odds of prion infection in free-ranging deer. Analysis of data from prion-infected deer herds in northern Colorado, USA, revealed that a 1% increase in the clay-sized particle content in soils within the approximate home range of an individual deer increased its odds of infection by up to 8.9%. Our findings suggest that soil clay content and related environmental properties deserve greater attention in assessing risks of prion disease outbreaks and prospects for their control in both natural and production settings. ?? 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

  9. Glycoform-selective prion formation in sporadic and familial forms of prion disease

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Xiao, X.; Yuan, J.; Haïk, S.; Cali, I.; Zhan, Y.; Moudjou, M.; Li, B.; Laplanche, J.L.; Laude, H.; Langeveld, J.P.M.; Gambetti, P.

    2013-01-01

    The four glycoforms of the cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) variably glycosylated at the two N-linked glycosylation sites are converted into their pathological forms (PrP(Sc)) in most cases of sporadic prion diseases. However, a prominent molecular characteristic of PrP(Sc) in the recently identified

  10. Fatal Prion Disease in a Mouse Model of Genetic E200K Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

    Science.gov (United States)

    Friedman-Levi, Yael; Meiner, Zeev; Canello, Tamar; Frid, Kati; Kovacs, Gabor G.; Budka, Herbert; Avrahami, Dana; Gabizon, Ruth

    2011-01-01

    Genetic prion diseases are late onset fatal neurodegenerative disorders linked to pathogenic mutations in the prion protein-encoding gene, PRNP. The most prevalent of these is the substitution of Glutamate for Lysine at codon 200 (E200K), causing genetic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (gCJD) in several clusters, including Jews of Libyan origin. Investigating the pathogenesis of genetic CJD, as well as developing prophylactic treatments for young asymptomatic carriers of this and other PrP mutations, may well depend upon the availability of appropriate animal models in which long term treatments can be evaluated for efficacy and toxicity. Here we present the first effective mouse model for E200KCJD, which expresses chimeric mouse/human (TgMHu2M) E199KPrP on both a null and a wt PrP background, as is the case for heterozygous patients and carriers. Mice from both lines suffered from distinct neurological symptoms as early as 5–6 month of age and deteriorated to death several months thereafter. Histopathological examination of the brain and spinal cord revealed early gliosis and age-related intraneuronal deposition of disease-associated PrP similarly to human E200K gCJD. Concomitantly we detected aggregated, proteinase K resistant, truncated and oxidized PrP forms on immunoblots. Inoculation of brain extracts from TgMHu2ME199K mice readily induced, the first time for any mutant prion transgenic model, a distinct fatal prion disease in wt mice. We believe that these mice may serve as an ideal platform for the investigation of the pathogenesis of genetic prion disease and thus for the monitoring of anti-prion treatments. PMID:22072968

  11. Fatal prion disease in a mouse model of genetic E200K Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yael Friedman-Levi

    2011-11-01

    Full Text Available Genetic prion diseases are late onset fatal neurodegenerative disorders linked to pathogenic mutations in the prion protein-encoding gene, PRNP. The most prevalent of these is the substitution of Glutamate for Lysine at codon 200 (E200K, causing genetic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (gCJD in several clusters, including Jews of Libyan origin. Investigating the pathogenesis of genetic CJD, as well as developing prophylactic treatments for young asymptomatic carriers of this and other PrP mutations, may well depend upon the availability of appropriate animal models in which long term treatments can be evaluated for efficacy and toxicity. Here we present the first effective mouse model for E200KCJD, which expresses chimeric mouse/human (TgMHu2M E199KPrP on both a null and a wt PrP background, as is the case for heterozygous patients and carriers. Mice from both lines suffered from distinct neurological symptoms as early as 5-6 month of age and deteriorated to death several months thereafter. Histopathological examination of the brain and spinal cord revealed early gliosis and age-related intraneuronal deposition of disease-associated PrP similarly to human E200K gCJD. Concomitantly we detected aggregated, proteinase K resistant, truncated and oxidized PrP forms on immunoblots. Inoculation of brain extracts from TgMHu2ME199K mice readily induced, the first time for any mutant prion transgenic model, a distinct fatal prion disease in wt mice. We believe that these mice may serve as an ideal platform for the investigation of the pathogenesis of genetic prion disease and thus for the monitoring of anti-prion treatments.

  12. Prion propagation and toxicity occur in vitro with two-phase kinetics specific to strain and neuronal type.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hannaoui, Samia; Maatouk, Layal; Privat, Nicolas; Levavasseur, Etienne; Faucheux, Baptiste A; Haïk, Stéphane

    2013-03-01

    Prion diseases, or transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), are fatal neurodegenerative disorders that occur in humans and animals. The neuropathological hallmarks of TSEs are spongiosis, glial proliferation, and neuronal loss. The only known specific molecular marker of TSEs is the abnormal isoform (PrP(Sc)) of the host-encoded prion protein (PrP(C)), which accumulates in the brain of infected subjects and forms infectious prion particles. Although this transmissible agent lacks a specific nucleic acid component, several prion strains have been isolated. Prion strains are characterized by differences in disease outcome, PrP(Sc) distribution patterns, and brain lesion profiles at the terminal stage of the disease. The molecular factors and cellular mechanisms involved in strain-specific neuronal tropism and toxicity remain largely unknown. Currently, no cellular model exists to facilitate in vitro studies of these processes. A few cultured cell lines that maintain persistent scrapie infections have been developed, but only two of them have shown the cytotoxic effects associated with prion propagation. In this study, we have developed primary neuronal cultures to assess in vitro neuronal tropism and toxicity of different prion strains (scrapie strains 139A, ME7, and 22L). We have tested primary neuronal cultures enriched in cerebellar granular, striatal, or cortical neurons. Our results showed that (i) a strain-specific neuronal tropism operated in vitro; (ii) the cytotoxic effect varied among strains and neuronal cell types; (iii) prion propagation and toxicity occurred in two kinetic phases, a replicative phase followed by a toxic phase; and (iv) neurotoxicity peaked when abnormal PrP accumulation reached a plateau.

  13. Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: Prion Pathology in Medulla Oblongata-Possible Routes of Infection and Host Susceptibility.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iacono, Diego; Ferrari, Sergio; Gelati, Matteo; Zanusso, Gianluigi; Mariotto, Sara; Monaco, Salvatore

    2015-01-01

    Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), the most frequent human prion disorder, is characterized by remarkable phenotypic variability, which is influenced by the conformation of the pathologic prion protein and the methionine/valine polymorphic codon 129 of the prion protein gene. While the etiology of sCJD remains unknown, it has been hypothesized that environmental exposure to prions might occur through conjunctival/mucosal contact, oral ingestion, inhalation, or simultaneous involvement of the olfactory and enteric systems. We studied 21 subjects with definite sCJD to assess neuropathological involvement of the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus and other medullary nuclei and to evaluate possible associations with codon 129 genotype and prion protein conformation. The present data show that prion protein deposition was detected in medullary nuclei of distinct sCJD subtypes, either valine homozygous or heterozygous at codon 129. These findings suggest that an "environmental exposure" might occur, supporting the hypothesis that external sources of contamination could contribute to sCJD in susceptible hosts. Furthermore, these novel data could shed the light on possible causes of sCJD through a "triple match" hypothesis that identify environmental exposure, host genotype, and direct exposure of specific anatomical regions as possible pathogenetic factors.

  14. Accumulation of pathological prion protein PrPSc in the skin of animals with experimental and natural scrapie.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Achim Thomzig

    2007-05-01

    Full Text Available Prion infectivity and its molecular marker, the pathological prion protein PrP(Sc, accumulate in the central nervous system and often also in lymphoid tissue of animals or humans affected by transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Recently, PrP(Sc was found in tissues previously considered not to be invaded by prions (e.g., skeletal muscles. Here, we address the question of whether prions target the skin and show widespread PrP(Sc deposition in this organ in hamsters perorally or parenterally challenged with scrapie. In hamsters fed with scrapie, PrP(Sc was detected before the onset of symptoms, but the bulk of skin-associated PrP(Sc accumulated in the clinical phase. PrP(Sc was localized in nerve fibres within the skin but not in keratinocytes, and the deposition of PrP(Sc in skin showed no dependence from the route of infection and lymphotropic dissemination. The data indicated a neurally mediated centrifugal spread of prions to the skin. Furthermore, in a follow-up study, we examined sheep naturally infected with scrapie and detected PrP(Sc by Western blotting in skin samples from two out of five animals. Our findings point to the skin as a potential reservoir of prions, which should be further investigated in relation to disease transmission.

  15. Ultra-sensitive detection of prion protein fibrils by flow cytometry in blood from cattle affected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maas Elke

    2005-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The definite diagnosis of prion diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD in humans or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE in cattle currently relies on the post mortem detection of the pathological form of the prion protein (PrPSc in brain tissue. Infectivity studies indicate that PrPSc may also be present in body fluids, even at presymptomatic stages of the disease, albeit at concentrations well below the detection limits of currently available analytical methods. Results We developed a highly sensitive method for detecting prion protein aggregates that takes advantage of kinetic differences between seeded and unseeded polymerization of prion protein monomers. Detection of the aggregates was carried out by flow cytometry. In the presence of prion seeds, the association of labelled recombinant PrP monomers in plasma and serum proceeds much more efficiently than in the absence of seeds. In a diagnostic model system, synthetic PrP aggregates were detected down to a concentration of approximately 10-8 nM [0.24 fg/ml]. A specific signal was detected in six out of six available serum samples from BSE-positive cattle. Conclusion We have developed a method based on seed-dependent PrP fibril formation that shows promising results in differentiating a small number of BSE-positive serum samples from healthy controls. This method may provide the basis for an ante mortem diagnostic test for prion diseases.

  16. A systematic investigation of production of synthetic prions from recombinant prion protein.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmidt, Christian; Fizet, Jeremie; Properzi, Francesca; Batchelor, Mark; Sandberg, Malin K; Edgeworth, Julie A; Afran, Louise; Ho, Sammy; Badhan, Anjna; Klier, Steffi; Linehan, Jacqueline M; Brandner, Sebastian; Hosszu, Laszlo L P; Tattum, M Howard; Jat, Parmjit; Clarke, Anthony R; Klöhn, Peter C; Wadsworth, Jonathan D F; Jackson, Graham S; Collinge, John

    2015-12-01

    According to the protein-only hypothesis, infectious mammalian prions, which exist as distinct strains with discrete biological properties, consist of multichain assemblies of misfolded cellular prion protein (PrP). A critical test would be to produce prion strains synthetically from defined components. Crucially, high-titre 'synthetic' prions could then be used to determine the structural basis of infectivity and strain diversity at the atomic level. While there have been multiple reports of production of prions from bacterially expressed recombinant PrP using various methods, systematic production of high-titre material in a form suitable for structural analysis remains a key goal. Here, we report a novel high-throughput strategy for exploring a matrix of conditions, additives and potential cofactors that might generate high-titre prions from recombinant mouse PrP, with screening for infectivity using a sensitive automated cell-based bioassay. Overall, approximately 20,000 unique conditions were examined. While some resulted in apparently infected cell cultures, this was transient and not reproducible. We also adapted published methods that reported production of synthetic prions from recombinant hamster PrP, but again did not find evidence of significant infectious titre when using recombinant mouse PrP as substrate. Collectively, our findings are consistent with the formation of prion infectivity from recombinant mouse PrP being a rare stochastic event and we conclude that systematic generation of prions from recombinant PrP may only become possible once the detailed structure of authentic ex vivo prions is solved. © 2015 The Authors.

  17. Integrating the social sciences to understand human-water dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carr, G.; Kuil, L., Jr.

    2017-12-01

    Many interesting and exciting socio-hydrological models have been developed in recent years. Such models often aim to capture the dynamic interplay between people and water for a variety of hydrological settings. As such, peoples' behaviours and decisions are brought into the models as drivers of and/or respondents to the hydrological system. To develop and run such models over a sufficiently long time duration to observe how the water-human system evolves the human component is often simplified according to one or two key behaviours, characteristics or decisions (e.g. a decision to move away from a drought or flood area; a decision to pump groundwater, or a decision to plant a less water demanding crop). To simplify the social component, socio-hydrological modellers often pull knowledge and understanding from existing social science theories. This requires them to negotiate complex territory, where social theories may be underdeveloped, contested, dynamically evolving, or case specific and difficult to generalise or upscale. A key question is therefore, how can this process be supported so that the resulting socio-hydrological models adequately describe the system and lead to meaningful understanding of how and why it behaves as it does? Collaborative interdisciplinary research teams that bring together social and natural scientists are likely to be critical. Joint development of the model framework requires specific attention to clarification to expose all underlying assumptions, constructive discussion and negotiation to reach agreement on the modelled system and its boundaries. Mutual benefits to social scientists can be highlighted, i.e. socio-hydrological work can provide insights for further exploring and testing social theories. Collaborative work will also help ensure underlying social theory is made explicit, and may identify ways to include and compare multiple theories. As socio-hydrology progresses towards supporting policy development, approaches that

  18. Space, time and the limits of human understanding

    CERN Document Server

    Ghirardi, Giancarlo

    2017-01-01

    In this compendium of essays, some of the world’s leading thinkers discuss their conceptions of space and time, as viewed through the lens of their own discipline. With an epilogue on the limits of human understanding, this volume hosts contributions from six or more diverse fields. It presumes only rudimentary background knowledge on the part of the reader. Time and again, through the prism of intellect, humans have tried to diffract reality into various distinct, yet seamless, atomic, yet holistic, independent, yet interrelated disciplines and have attempted to study it contextually. Philosophers debate the paradoxes, or engage in meditations, dialogues and reflections on the content and nature of space and time. Physicists, too, have been trying to mold space and time to fit their notions concerning micro- and macro-worlds. Mathematicians focus on the abstract aspects of space, time and measurement. While cognitive scientists ponder over the perceptual and experiential facets of our consciousness of spac...

  19. Early human communication helps in understanding language evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lenti Boero, Daniela

    2014-12-01

    Building a theory on extant species, as Ackermann et al. do, is a useful contribution to the field of language evolution. Here, I add another living model that might be of interest: human language ontogeny in the first year of life. A better knowledge of this phase might help in understanding two more topics among the "several building blocks of a comprehensive theory of the evolution of spoken language" indicated in their conclusion by Ackermann et al., that is, the foundation of the co-evolution of linguistic motor skills with the auditory skills underlying speech perception, and the possible phylogenetic interactions of protospeech production with referential capabilities.

  20. A novel seven-octapeptide repeat insertion in the prion protein gene (PRNP) in a Dutch pedigree with Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker disease phenotype: comparison with similar cases from the literature

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Jansen, Casper; Voet, Willem; Head, Mark W.; Parchi, Piero; Yull, Helen; Verrips, Aad; Wesseling, Pieter; Meulstee, Jan; Baas, Frank; van Gool, Willem A.; Ironside, James W.; Rozemuller, Annemieke J. M.

    2011-01-01

    Human prion diseases can be sporadic, inherited or acquired by infection and show considerable phenotypic heterogeneity. We describe the clinical, histopathological and pathological prion protein (PrP(Sc)) characteristics of a Dutch family with a novel 7-octapeptide repeat insertion (7-OPRI) in

  1. Defining the Conformational Features of Anchorless, Poorly Neuroinvasive Prions

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bett, C.; Kurt, T.D.; Lucero, M.; Trejo, M.; Rozemuller, A.J.M.; Kong, Q.Z.; Nilsson, K.P.R.; Masliah, E.; Oldstone, M.B.; Sigurdson, C.J.

    2013-01-01

    Infectious prions cause diverse clinical signs and form an extraordinary range of structures, from amorphous aggregates to fibrils. How the conformation of a prion dictates the disease phenotype remains unclear. Mice expressing GPI-anchorless or GPI-anchored prion protein exposed to the same

  2. Prion disease tempo determined by host-dependent substrate reduction

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mays, C.E.; Kim, C.; Haldiman, T.; Merwe, v.d. J.; Lau, A.; Yang, J.; Grams, J.; Bari, Di M.A.; Nonno, R.; Telling, G.C.; Kong, Q.; Langeveld, J.P.M.; McKenzie, D.; Westaway, D.; Safar, J.G.

    2014-01-01

    The symptoms of prion infection can take years or decades to manifest following the initial exposure. Molecular markers of prion disease include accumulation of the misfolded prion protein (PrPSc), which is derived from its cellular precursor (PrPC), as well as downregulation of the PrP-like Shadoo

  3. Prions in milk from ewes incubating natural scrapie.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Caroline Lacroux

    2008-12-01

    Full Text Available Since prion infectivity had never been reported in milk, dairy products originating from transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE-affected ruminant flocks currently enter unrestricted into the animal and human food chain. However, a recently published study brought the first evidence of the presence of prions in mammary secretions from scrapie-affected ewes. Here we report the detection of consistent levels of infectivity in colostrum and milk from sheep incubating natural scrapie, several months prior to clinical onset. Additionally, abnormal PrP was detected, by immunohistochemistry and PET blot, in lacteal ducts and mammary acini. This PrP(Sc accumulation was detected only in ewes harbouring mammary ectopic lymphoid follicles that developed consequent to Maedi lentivirus infection. However, bioassay revealed that prion infectivity was present in milk and colostrum, not only from ewes with such lympho-proliferative chronic mastitis, but also from those displaying lesion-free mammary glands. In milk and colostrum, infectivity could be recovered in the cellular, cream, and casein-whey fractions. In our samples, using a Tg 338 mouse model, the highest per ml infectious titre measured was found to be equivalent to that contained in 6 microg of a posterior brain stem from a terminally scrapie-affected ewe. These findings indicate that both colostrum and milk from small ruminants incubating TSE could contribute to the animal TSE transmission process, either directly or through the presence of milk-derived material in animal feedstuffs. It also raises some concern with regard to the risk to humans of TSE exposure associated with milk products from ovine and other TSE-susceptible dairy species.

  4. PHENOMENOLOGY OF LIFE IN UNDERSTANDING THE COSMOPOLITAN HUMANNESS

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    CARMEN COZMA

    2013-05-01

    Full Text Available One of the most significant directions of the world-wide contemporary philosophy, phenomenology of life of Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka represents a major path of thinking and acting for the promotion of what does mean the universal valuable in human beingness by disclosing and unfolding an essential modality of understanding and shaping some paradigms of world culture. We face an original author and a reputed activist doing exceptional work to foster a culture of dialogue in the world. The impressive Tymienieckan philosophical work has imposed itself as a great contribution to the heralding of a “New Enlightenment” encompassing humanity in the endeavour of creating, maintaining and developing the wellbeing and the common good of mankind, in securing the human common destiny. Putting in act a holistic and dynamic philosophy upon life and human condition, phenomenology of life offers a viable pattern of communication between different cultures, of overcoming any kind of contradictions in dealing with the fundamental issues of living together and sharing-in-life. We can find elements for tackling and comprehending in a better way our cosmopolitan humanness, due to the opening of a creative approach of identity and otherness, by admitting differentiation and also by working for harmony in the play of life. Throughout new concepts and a very own complex vision of the respect for life, the philosophy-in-act of AnnaTeresa Tymieniecka manifests valences of an integrator enterprise in interpreting the cosmopolitan status of the philosopher in nowadays, in affirming the role of a responsible citizen of the world.

  5. 76 FR 71294 - Prions; Proposed Amendment To Clarify Product Performance Data for Products With Prion-Related...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-11-17

    ... (FIFRA), and to amend its regulations to expressly include prion within the regulatory definition of pest... observed by the user including, but not limited to, microorganisms infectious to man in any area of the... prion within the regulatory definition of pest. EPA currently considers a prion to be a pest under FIFRA...

  6. Quantifying the relative amounts of PrP polymorphisms present in prions isolated from heterozygous prion-infected animals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prions cause protein misfolding diseases, such as transmissible spongiform encephalopathy. They propagate infections by converting a normal cellular prion protein into a prion (PrPSc). PrPC and PrPSc are isosequential and differ only in their respective conformations. PrPC is monomeric and sensit...

  7. Lions and prions and deer demise.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael W Miller

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Contagious prion diseases--scrapie of sheep and chronic wasting disease of several species in the deer family--give rise to epidemics that seem capable of compromising host population viability. Despite this prospect, the ecological consequences of prion disease epidemics in natural populations have received little consideration. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using a cohort study design, we found that prion infection dramatically lowered survival of free-ranging adult (>2-year-old mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus: estimated average life expectancy was 5.2 additional years for uninfected deer but only 1.6 additional years for infected deer. Prion infection also increased nearly fourfold the rate of mountain lions (Puma concolor preying on deer, suggesting that epidemics may alter predator-prey dynamics by facilitating hunting success. Despite selective predation, about one fourth of the adult deer we sampled were infected. High prevalence and low survival of infected deer provided a plausible explanation for the marked decline in this deer population since the 1980s. CONCLUSION: Remarkably high infection rates sustained in the face of intense predation show that even seemingly complete ecosystems may offer little resistance to the spread and persistence of contagious prion diseases. Moreover, the depression of infected populations may lead to local imbalances in food webs and nutrient cycling in ecosystems in which deer are important herbivores.

  8. Secretin receptor involvement in prion-infected cells and animals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kimura, Tomohiro; Nishizawa, Keiko; Oguma, Ayumi; Nishimura, Yuki; Sakasegawa, Yuji; Teruya, Kenta; Nishijima, Ichiko; Doh-ura, Katsumi

    2015-07-08

    The cellular mechanisms behind prion biosynthesis and metabolism remain unclear. Here we show that secretin signaling via the secretin receptor regulates abnormal prion protein formation in prion-infected cells. Animal studies demonstrate that secretin receptor deficiency slightly, but significantly, prolongs incubation time in female but not male mice. This gender-specificity is consistent with our finding that prion-infected cells are derived from females. Therefore, our results provide initial insights into the reasons why age of disease onset in certain prion diseases is reported to occur slightly earlier in females than males. Copyright © 2015 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  9. [Doctor Francoise Cathala and history of prions diseases].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Court, L; Hauw, J-J

    2015-12-01

    Doctor Françoise Cathala Pagesy, MD, MS, born on July 7, 1921 in Paris, passed away peacefully at home on November 5, 2012. Unconventional, passionate and enthusiastic neurologist and virologist, she devoted her life to research on latent and slow viral infections, specializing mainly on unconventional transmissible agents or prions. As a research member of Inserm (French Institute for Medical Research), she soon joined the team of Carlton Gajdusek (the NINCDS - National Institute of Nervous Central System and Stroke - of NIH), who first demonstrated the transmissibility of kuru and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease to monkeys. When she came back to Paris, where she was followed by one of NIH members, Paul Brown, she joined the Centre de Recherches du Service de Santé des Armées (Army Health Research Center), in Percy-Clamart, where she found the experimental design and the attentive help needed for her research, which appeared heretical to many French virologists, including some authorities. A large number of research programs were set up with numerous collaborations involving CEA (Center for Atomic Energy) and other institutions in Paris and Marseilles on epidemiology, results of tissue inoculation, electrophysiology and neuropathology of human and animal prions diseases, and resistance of the infectious agent. International symposia were set up, where met, in the Val-de-Grâce hospital in Paris, the research community on "slow viral diseases". Stanley Prusiner introduced the concept - then badly accepted and still in evolution - of prion, a protein only infectious agent. Before retiring from Inserm, Françoise Cathala predicted and was involved in some of the huge sanitary crises in France. These were, first, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease from contaminated growth hormone extracted from cadavers, which led parents to instigate legal procedure - a quite unusual practice in France. The second was Mad cow disease in the United Kingdom then in France, followed by new variant

  10. Classical Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy by Transmission of H-Type Prion in Homologous Prion Protein Context

    OpenAIRE

    Torres, Juan-María; Andréoletti, Olivier; Lacroux, Caroline; Prieto, Irene; Lorenzo, Patricia; Larska, Magdalena; Baron, Thierry; Espinosa, Juan-Carlos

    2011-01-01

    Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and BSErelated disorders have been associated with a single major prion strain. Recently, 2 atypical, presumably sporadic forms of BSE have been associated with 2 distinct prion strains that are characterized mainly by distinct Western blot profi les of abnormal protease-resistant prion protein (PrPres), named high-type (BSE-H) and low-type (BSE-L), that also differed from classical BSE. We characterized 5 atypical BSE-H isolates by analyzing their molec...

  11. Grass Plants Bind, Retain, Uptake, and Transport Infectious Prions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sandra Pritzkow

    2015-05-01

    Full Text Available Prions are the protein-based infectious agents responsible for prion diseases. Environmental prion contamination has been implicated in disease transmission. Here, we analyzed the binding and retention of infectious prion protein (PrPSc to plants. Small quantities of PrPSc contained in diluted brain homogenate or in excretory materials (urine and feces can bind to wheat grass roots and leaves. Wild-type hamsters were efficiently infected by ingestion of prion-contaminated plants. The prion-plant interaction occurs with prions from diverse origins, including chronic wasting disease. Furthermore, leaves contaminated by spraying with a prion-containing preparation retained PrPSc for several weeks in the living plant. Finally, plants can uptake prions from contaminated soil and transport them to aerial parts of the plant (stem and leaves. These findings demonstrate that plants can efficiently bind infectious prions and act as carriers of infectivity, suggesting a possible role of environmental prion contamination in the horizontal transmission of the disease.

  12. Grass plants bind, retain, uptake, and transport infectious prions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pritzkow, Sandra; Morales, Rodrigo; Moda, Fabio; Khan, Uffaf; Telling, Glenn C; Hoover, Edward; Soto, Claudio

    2015-05-26

    Prions are the protein-based infectious agents responsible for prion diseases. Environmental prion contamination has been implicated in disease transmission. Here, we analyzed the binding and retention of infectious prion protein (PrP(Sc)) to plants. Small quantities of PrP(Sc) contained in diluted brain homogenate or in excretory materials (urine and feces) can bind to wheat grass roots and leaves. Wild-type hamsters were efficiently infected by ingestion of prion-contaminated plants. The prion-plant interaction occurs with prions from diverse origins, including chronic wasting disease. Furthermore, leaves contaminated by spraying with a prion-containing preparation retained PrP(Sc) for several weeks in the living plant. Finally, plants can uptake prions from contaminated soil and transport them to aerial parts of the plant (stem and leaves). These findings demonstrate that plants can efficiently bind infectious prions and act as carriers of infectivity, suggesting a possible role of environmental prion contamination in the horizontal transmission of the disease. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  13. Insights into the physiological function of cellular prion protein

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Martins V.R.

    2001-01-01

    Full Text Available Prions have been extensively studied since they represent a new class of infectious agents in which a protein, PrPsc (prion scrapie, appears to be the sole component of the infectious particle. They are responsible for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, which affect both humans and animals. The mechanism of disease propagation is well understood and involves the interaction of PrPsc with its cellular isoform (PrPc and subsequently abnormal structural conversion of the latter. PrPc is a glycoprotein anchored on the cell surface by a glycosylphosphatidylinositol moiety and expressed in most cell types but mainly in neurons. Prion diseases have been associated with the accumulation of the abnormally folded protein and its neurotoxic effects; however, it is not known if PrPc loss of function is an important component. New efforts are addressing this question and trying to characterize the physiological function of PrPc. At least four different mouse strains in which the PrP gene was ablated were generated and the results regarding their phenotype are controversial. Localization of PrPc on the cell membrane makes it a potential candidate for a ligand uptake, cell adhesion and recognition molecule or a membrane signaling molecule. Recent data have shown a potential role for PrPc in the metabolism of copper and moreover that this metal stimulates PrPc endocytosis. Our group has recently demonstrated that PrPc is a high affinity laminin ligand and that this interaction mediates neuronal cell adhesion and neurite extension and maintenance. Moreover, PrPc-caveolin-1 dependent coupling seems to trigger the tyrosine kinase Fyn activation. These data provide the first evidence for PrPc involvement in signal transduction.

  14. Mutation directional selection sheds light on prion pathogenesis

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Shen, Liang; Ji, Hong-Fang

    2011-01-01

    Highlights: → Most pathogenic mutations possess strong directional selection, i.e., enhancing hydrophobicity or decreasing negative and increasing positive charge. → Mutation-induced changes may strengthen the interactions between PrP and facilitating factors. → The findings also have significant implications for exploring potential regions involved in the conformational transition from PrP C to PrP Sc . -- Abstract: As mutations in the PRNP gene account for human hereditary prion diseases (PrDs), it is crucial to elucidating how these mutations affect the central pathogenic conformational transition of normal cellular prion protein (PrP C ) to abnormal scrapie isoform (PrP Sc ). Many studies proposed that these pathogenic mutations may make PrP more susceptible to conformational change through altering its structure stability. By evaluating the most recent observations regarding pathogenic mutations, it was found that the pathogenic mutations do not exert a uniform effect on the thermodynamic stability of the human PrP's structure. Through analyzing the reported PrDs-related mutations, we found that 25 out of 27 mutations possess strong directional selection, i.e., enhancing hydrophobicity or decreasing negative and increasing positive charge. Based on the triggering role reported by previous studies of facilitating factors in PrP C conversion, e.g., lipid and polyanion, we proposed that the mutation-induced changes may strengthen the interaction between PrP and facilitating factors, which will accelerate PrP conversion and cause PrDs.

  15. Detection of prions in blood from patients with variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Concha-Marambio, Luis; Pritzkow, Sandra; Moda, Fabio; Tagliavini, Fabrizio; Ironside, James W; Schulz, Paul E; Soto, Claudio

    2016-12-21

    Human prion diseases are infectious and invariably fatal neurodegenerative diseases. They include sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), the most common form, and variant CJD (vCJD), which is caused by interspecies transmission of prions from cattle infected by bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Development of a biochemical assay for the sensitive, specific, early, and noninvasive detection of prions (PrP Sc ) in the blood of patients affected by prion disease is a top medical priority to increase the safety of the blood supply. vCJD has already been transmitted from human to human by blood transfusion, and the number of asymptomatic carriers of vCJD in the U.K. alone is estimated to be 1 in 2000 people. We used the protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) technique to analyze blood samples from 14 cases of vCJD and 153 controls, including patients affected by sCJD and other neurodegenerative or neurological disorders as well as healthy subjects. Our results showed that PrP Sc could be detected with 100% sensitivity and specificity in blood samples from vCJD patients. Detection was possible in any of the blood fractions analyzed and could be done with as little as a few microliters of sample volume. The PrP Sc concentration in blood was estimated to be ~0.5 pg/ml. Our findings suggest that PMCA may be useful for premortem noninvasive diagnosis of vCJD and to identify prion contamination of the blood supply. Further studies are needed to fully validate the technology. Copyright © 2016, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  16. Lesion of the olfactory epithelium accelerates prion neuroinvasion and disease onset when prion replication is restricted to neurons.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jenna Crowell

    Full Text Available Natural prion diseases of ruminants are moderately contagious and while the gastrointestinal tract is the primary site of prion agent entry, other mucosae may be entry sites in a subset of infections. In the current study we examined prion neuroinvasion and disease induction following disruption of the olfactory epithelium in the nasal mucosa since this site contains environmentally exposed olfactory sensory neurons that project directly into the central nervous system. Here we provide evidence for accelerated prion neuroinvasion and clinical onset from the olfactory mucosa after disruption and regeneration of the olfactory epithelium and when prion replication is restricted to neurons. In transgenic mice with neuron restricted replication of prions, there was a reduction in survival when the olfactory epithelium was disrupted prior to intranasal inoculation and there was >25% decrease in the prion incubation period. In a second model, the neurotropic DY strain of transmissible mink encephalopathy was not pathogenic in hamsters by the nasal route, but 50% of animals exhibited brain infection and/or disease when the olfactory epithelium was disrupted prior to intranasal inoculation. A time course analysis of prion deposition in the brain following loss of the olfactory epithelium in models of neuron-restricted prion replication suggests that neuroinvasion from the olfactory mucosa is via the olfactory nerve or brain stem associated cranial nerves. We propose that induction of neurogenesis after damage to the olfactory epithelium can lead to prion infection of immature olfactory sensory neurons and accelerate prion spread to the brain.

  17. Effects of solution chemistry and aging time on prion protein adsorption and replication of soil-bound prions.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Samuel E Saunders

    2011-04-01

    Full Text Available Prion interactions with soil may play an important role in the transmission of chronic wasting disease (CWD and scrapie. Prions are known to bind to a wide range of soil surfaces, but the effects of adsorption solution chemistry and long-term soil binding on prion fate and transmission risk are unknown. We investigated HY TME prion protein (PrP(Sc adsorption to soil minerals in aqueous solutions of phosphate buffered saline (PBS, sodium chloride, calcium chloride, and deionized water using western blotting. The replication efficiency of bound prions following adsorption in these solutions was also evaluated by protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA. Aging studies investigated PrP(Sc desorption and replication efficiency up to one year following adsorption in PBS or DI water. Results indicate that adsorption solution chemistry can affect subsequent prion replication or desorption ability, especially after incubation periods of 30 d or longer. Observed effects were minor over the short-term (7 d or less. Results of long-term aging experiments demonstrate that unbound prions or prions bound to a diverse range of soil surfaces can readily replicate after one year. Our results suggest that while prion-soil interactions can vary with solution chemistry, prions bound to soil could remain a risk for transmitting prion diseases after months in the environment.

  18. Lesion of the Olfactory Epithelium Accelerates Prion Neuroinvasion and Disease Onset when Prion Replication Is Restricted to Neurons

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crowell, Jenna; Wiley, James A.; Bessen, Richard A.

    2015-01-01

    Natural prion diseases of ruminants are moderately contagious and while the gastrointestinal tract is the primary site of prion agent entry, other mucosae may be entry sites in a subset of infections. In the current study we examined prion neuroinvasion and disease induction following disruption of the olfactory epithelium in the nasal mucosa since this site contains environmentally exposed olfactory sensory neurons that project directly into the central nervous system. Here we provide evidence for accelerated prion neuroinvasion and clinical onset from the olfactory mucosa after disruption and regeneration of the olfactory epithelium and when prion replication is restricted to neurons. In transgenic mice with neuron restricted replication of prions, there was a reduction in survival when the olfactory epithelium was disrupted prior to intranasal inoculation and there was >25% decrease in the prion incubation period. In a second model, the neurotropic DY strain of transmissible mink encephalopathy was not pathogenic in hamsters by the nasal route, but 50% of animals exhibited brain infection and/or disease when the olfactory epithelium was disrupted prior to intranasal inoculation. A time course analysis of prion deposition in the brain following loss of the olfactory epithelium in models of neuron-restricted prion replication suggests that neuroinvasion from the olfactory mucosa is via the olfactory nerve or brain stem associated cranial nerves. We propose that induction of neurogenesis after damage to the olfactory epithelium can lead to prion infection of immature olfactory sensory neurons and accelerate prion spread to the brain. PMID:25822718

  19. High diagnostic value of second generation CSF RT-QuIC across the wide spectrum of CJD prions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Franceschini, Alessia; Baiardi, Simone; Hughson, Andrew G; McKenzie, Neil; Moda, Fabio; Rossi, Marcello; Capellari, Sabina; Green, Alison; Giaccone, Giorgio; Caughey, Byron; Parchi, Piero

    2017-09-06

    An early and accurate in vivo diagnosis of rapidly progressive dementia remains challenging, despite its critical importance for the outcome of treatable forms, and the formulation of prognosis. Real-Time Quaking-Induced Conversion (RT-QuIC) is an in vitro assay that, for the first time, specifically discriminates patients with prion disease. Here, using cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from 239 patients with definite or probable prion disease and 100 patients with a definite alternative diagnosis, we compared the performance of the first (PQ-CSF) and second generation (IQ-CSF) RT-QuIC assays, and investigated the diagnostic value of IQ-CSF across the broad spectrum of human prions. Our results confirm the high sensitivity of IQ-CSF for detecting human prions with a sub-optimal sensitivity for the sporadic CJD subtypes MM2C and MM2T, and a low sensitivity limited to variant CJD, Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker syndrome and fatal familial insomnia. While we found no difference in specificity between PQ-CSF and IQ-CSF, the latter showed a significant improvement in sensitivity, allowing prion detection in about 80% of PQ-CSF negative CJD samples. Our results strongly support the implementation of IQ-CSF in clinical practice. By rapidly confirming or excluding CJD with high accuracy the assay is expected to improve the outcome for patients and their enrollment in therapeutic trials.

  20. Prion Protein on Astrocytes or in Extracellular Fluid Impedes Neurodegeneration Induced by Truncated Prion Protein

    OpenAIRE

    Race, Brent; Meade-White, Kimberly; Race, Richard; Baumann, Frank; Aguzzi, Adriano; Chesebro, Bruce

    2009-01-01

    Prion protein (PrP) is a host-encoded membrane-anchored glycoprotein which is required for susceptibility to prion disease. PrP may also be important for normal brain functions such as hippocampal spatial memory. Previously transgenic mice expressing amino terminally truncated mouse PrP (Δ32–134) spontaneously developed a fatal disease associated with degeneration of cerebellar granular neurons as well as vacuolar degeneration of deep cerebellar and brain stem white matter. This disease could...

  1. A dominant-negative mutant inhibits multiple prion variants through a common mechanism.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fen Pei

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Prions adopt alternative, self-replicating protein conformations and thereby determine novel phenotypes that are often irreversible. Nevertheless, dominant-negative prion mutants can revert phenotypes associated with some conformations. These observations suggest that, while intervention is possible, distinct inhibitors must be developed to overcome the conformational plasticity of prions. To understand the basis of this specificity, we determined the impact of the G58D mutant of the Sup35 prion on three of its conformational variants, which form amyloids in S. cerevisiae. G58D had been previously proposed to have unique effects on these variants, but our studies suggest a common mechanism. All variants, including those reported to be resistant, are inhibited by G58D but at distinct doses. G58D lowers the kinetic stability of the associated amyloid, enhancing its fragmentation by molecular chaperones, promoting Sup35 resolubilization, and leading to amyloid clearance particularly in daughter cells. Reducing the availability or activity of the chaperone Hsp104, even transiently, reverses curing. Thus, the specificity of inhibition is determined by the sensitivity of variants to the mutant dosage rather than mode of action, challenging the view that a unique inhibitor must be developed to combat each variant.

  2. Interaction of the 106-126 prion peptide with lipid membranes and potential implication for neurotoxicity

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dupiereux, Ingrid; Zorzi, Willy; Lins, Laurence; Brasseur, Robert; Colson, Pierre; Heinen, Ernst; Elmoualij, Benaissa

    2005-01-01

    Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative disorders characterized by the accumulation in the brain of an abnormally misfolded, protease-resistant, and β-sheet rich pathogenic isoform (PrP sc ) of the cellular prion protein (PrP c ). In the present work, we were interested to study the mode of prion protein interaction with the membrane using the 106-126 peptide and small unilamellar lipid vesicles as model. As previously demonstrated, we showed by MTS assay that PrP 106-126 induces alterations in the human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cell line. We demonstrated for the first time by lipid-mixing assay and by the liposome vesicle leakage test that PrP 106-126, a non-tilted peptide, induces liposome fusion thus a potential cell membrane destabilization, as supported by membrane integrity assay (LDH). By circular dichroism (CD) analysis we showed that the fusogenic property of PrP 106-126 in the presence of liposome is associated with a predominantly β-sheet structure. These data suggest that the fusogenic property associated with a predominant β-sheet structure exhibited by the prion peptides contributes to the neurotoxicity of these peptides by destabilizing cellular membranes. The latter might be attached at the membrane surface in a parallel orientation as shown by molecular modeling

  3. LRP1 controls biosynthetic and endocytic trafficking of neuronal prion protein

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Parkyn, Celia J; Vermeulen, Esmeralda G M; Mootoosamy, Roy C

    2008-01-01

    The trafficking of normal cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) is believed to control its conversion to the altered conformation (designated PrP(Sc)) associated with prion disease. Although anchored to the membrane by means of glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI), PrP(C) on neurons is rapidly and consti......The trafficking of normal cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) is believed to control its conversion to the altered conformation (designated PrP(Sc)) associated with prion disease. Although anchored to the membrane by means of glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI), PrP(C) on neurons is rapidly...... required for this process. Moreover, sustained inhibition of LRP1 levels by siRNA leads to the accumulation of PrP(C) in biosynthetic compartments, with a concomitant lowering of surface PrP(C), suggesting that LRP1 expedites the trafficking of PrP(C) to the neuronal surface. PrP(C) and LRP1 can be co......-immunoprecipitated from the endoplasmic reticulum in normal neurons. The N-terminal domain of PrP(C) binds to purified human LRP1 with nanomolar affinity, even in the presence of 1 microM of the LRP-specific chaperone, receptor-associated protein (RAP). Taken together, these data argue that LRP1 controls both the surface...

  4. Metabolic patterns in prion diseases: an FDG PET voxel-based analysis

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Prieto, Elena; Dominguez-Prado, Ines; Jesus Ribelles, Maria; Arbizu, Javier [Clinica Universidad de Navarra, Nuclear Medicine Department, Pamplona (Spain); Riverol, Mario; Ortega-Cubero, Sara; Rosario Luquin, Maria; Castro, Purificacion de [Clinica Universidad de Navarra, Neurology Department, Pamplona (Spain)

    2015-09-15

    Clinical diagnosis of human prion diseases can be challenging since symptoms are common to other disorders associated with rapidly progressive dementia. In this context, {sup 18}F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) might be a useful complementary tool. The aim of this study was to determine the metabolic pattern in human prion diseases, particularly sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), the new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) and fatal familial insomnia (FFI). We retrospectively studied 17 patients with a definitive, probable or possible prion disease who underwent FDG PET in our institution. Of these patients, 12 were diagnosed as sCJD (9 definitive, 2 probable and 1 possible), 1 was diagnosed as definitive vCJD and 4 were diagnosed as definitive FFI. The hypometabolic pattern of each individual and comparisons across the groups of subjects (control subjects, sCJD and FFI) were evaluated using a voxel-based analysis. The sCJD group exhibited a pattern of hypometabolism that affected both subcortical (bilateral caudate, thalamus) and cortical (frontal cortex) structures, while the FFI group only presented a slight hypometabolism in the thalamus. Individual analysis demonstrated a considerable variability of metabolic patterns among patients, with the thalamus and basal ganglia the most frequently affected areas, combined in some cases with frontal and temporal hypometabolism. Patients with a prion disease exhibit a characteristic pattern of brain metabolism presentation in FDG PET imaging. Consequently, in patients with rapidly progressive cognitive impairment, the detection of these patterns in the FDG PET study could orient the diagnosis to a prion disease. (orig.)

  5. Metabolic patterns in prion diseases: an FDG PET voxel-based analysis

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Prieto, Elena; Dominguez-Prado, Ines; Jesus Ribelles, Maria; Arbizu, Javier; Riverol, Mario; Ortega-Cubero, Sara; Rosario Luquin, Maria; Castro, Purificacion de

    2015-01-01

    Clinical diagnosis of human prion diseases can be challenging since symptoms are common to other disorders associated with rapidly progressive dementia. In this context, 18 F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) might be a useful complementary tool. The aim of this study was to determine the metabolic pattern in human prion diseases, particularly sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), the new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) and fatal familial insomnia (FFI). We retrospectively studied 17 patients with a definitive, probable or possible prion disease who underwent FDG PET in our institution. Of these patients, 12 were diagnosed as sCJD (9 definitive, 2 probable and 1 possible), 1 was diagnosed as definitive vCJD and 4 were diagnosed as definitive FFI. The hypometabolic pattern of each individual and comparisons across the groups of subjects (control subjects, sCJD and FFI) were evaluated using a voxel-based analysis. The sCJD group exhibited a pattern of hypometabolism that affected both subcortical (bilateral caudate, thalamus) and cortical (frontal cortex) structures, while the FFI group only presented a slight hypometabolism in the thalamus. Individual analysis demonstrated a considerable variability of metabolic patterns among patients, with the thalamus and basal ganglia the most frequently affected areas, combined in some cases with frontal and temporal hypometabolism. Patients with a prion disease exhibit a characteristic pattern of brain metabolism presentation in FDG PET imaging. Consequently, in patients with rapidly progressive cognitive impairment, the detection of these patterns in the FDG PET study could orient the diagnosis to a prion disease. (orig.)

  6. The Structural Stability of Wild-type Horse Prion Protein - Molecular Dynamics Studies

    OpenAIRE

    Zhang, Jiapu

    2011-01-01

    Prion diseases {\\it (e.g. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), variant CJD (vCJD), Gerstmann-Str$\\ddot{\\text{a}}$ussler-Scheinker syndrome (GSS), Fatal Familial Insomnia (FFI) and Kuru in humans, scrapie in sheep, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or `mad-cow' disease) and chronic wasting disease (CWD) in cattles)} are invariably fatal and highly infectious neurodegenerative diseases affecting humans and animals. However, by now there have not been some effective therapeutic approaches or med...

  7. A closer look at prion strains: characterization and important implications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Solforosi, Laura; Milani, Michela; Mancini, Nicasio; Clementi, Massimo; Burioni, Roberto

    2013-01-01

    Prions are infectious proteins that are responsible for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) and consist primarily of scrapie prion protein (PrP (Sc) ), a pathogenic isoform of the host-encoded cellular prion protein (PrP (C) ). The absence of nucleic acids as essential components of the infectious prions is the most striking feature associated to these diseases. Additionally, different prion strains have been isolated from animal diseases despite the lack of DNA or RNA molecules. Mounting evidence suggests that prion-strain-specific features segregate with different PrP (Sc) conformational and aggregation states. Strains are of practical relevance in prion diseases as they can drastically differ in many aspects, such as incubation period, PrP (Sc) biochemical profile (e.g., electrophoretic mobility and glycoform ratio) and distribution of brain lesions. Importantly, such different features are maintained after inoculation of a prion strain into genetically identical hosts and are relatively stable across serial passages. This review focuses on the characterization of prion strains and on the wide range of important implications that the study of prion strains involves.

  8. The prion protein and New World primate phylogeny

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Igor Schneider

    2004-01-01

    Full Text Available The PrP C prion protein contains 250 amino acids with some variation among species and is expressed in several cell types. PrP C is converted to PrP Sc by a post-translational process in which it acquires amino acid sequences of three-dimensional conformation of beta-sheets. Variations in the prion protein gene were observed among 16 genera of New World primates (Platyrrhini, and resulted in amino acid substitutions when compared with the human sequence. Seven substitutions not yet described in the literature were found: W -> R at position 31 in Cebuella, T -> A at position 95 in Cacajao and Chiropotes, N-> S at position 100 in Brachyteles, L -> Q at position 130 in Leontopithecus (in the sequence responsible for generating the beta-sheet 1, D -> E at position 144 in Lagothrix (in the sequence responsible for the alpha-helix 1, D-> G at position 147 in Saguinus (also located in the alpha-helix 1 region, and M -> I at position 232 in Alouatta. The phylogenetic trees generated by parsimony, neighbor-joining and Bayesian analyses strongly support the monophyletic status of the platyrrhines, but did not resolve relationships among families. However, the results do corroborate previous findings, which indicate that the three platyrrhine families radiated rapidly from an ancient split.

  9. Prion protein β2-α2 loop conformational landscape.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Caldarulo, Enrico; Barducci, Alessandro; Wüthrich, Kurt; Parrinello, Michele

    2017-09-05

    In transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), which are lethal neurodegenerative diseases that affect humans and a wide range of other mammalian species, the normal "cellular" prion protein ([Formula: see text]) is transformed into amyloid aggregates representing the "scrapie form" of the protein ([Formula: see text]). Continued research on this system is of keen interest, since new information on the physiological function of [Formula: see text] in healthy organisms is emerging, as well as new data on the mechanism of the transformation of [Formula: see text] to [Formula: see text] In this paper we used two different approaches: a combination of the well-tempered ensemble (WTE) and parallel tempering (PT) schemes and metadynamics (MetaD) to characterize the conformational free-energy surface of [Formula: see text] The focus of the data analysis was on an 11-residue polypeptide segment in mouse [Formula: see text](121-231) that includes the [Formula: see text]2-[Formula: see text]2 loop of residues 167-170, for which a correlation between structure and susceptibility to prion disease has previously been described. This study includes wild-type mouse [Formula: see text] and a variant with the single-residue replacement Y169A. The resulting detailed conformational landscapes complement in an integrative manner the available experimental data on [Formula: see text], providing quantitative insights into the nature of the structural transition-related function of the [Formula: see text]2-[Formula: see text]2 loop.

  10. Measuring and Understanding Public Opinion on Human Evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gwon, Misook

    The theory of evolution has long generated controversy in American society, but Americans' attitudes about human evolution are often neglected in studies of "culture wars" and the nature of mass belief systems more generally (Berkman and Plutzer 2010; Freeland and Houston 2009). Gallup and other survey organizations have polled about evolution, but offered limited response categories that mask complexity in public opinion (Bishop 2006; Moore 2008). The main problems concerning the leading survey questions about evolution are: first, questions measure only a single dimension, thus they ignore the potential for multidimensionality in people's attitudes. Second, depending on question wording and response options, the results of public opinion surveys vary by polling groups. This is an example of measurement error which misleads the interpretation and impression of American public opinion on the origin of humankind. A number of studies have analyzed Americans' beliefs about evolution and hypothesized about the influential effects of several factors (Deckman 2002; Mazur 2005; Mooney 2005; Miller et al. 2006; Newport 2006; Forrest 2007;Nisbet and Goidel 2007;Scott 2009). However, there remains a lack of complete understanding of what Americans know and believe about human evolution. Given the salience of this issue and the significant influence of public opinion on policy-making in America (Page and Shapiro 1992; Stimson 2004; Newport 2004), the measurement error and explanation of polling results on controversial issues related to this topic are in need of clarification. In this study, I address these deficiencies with analyses of data from a 2008 national survey by Harris Interactive (n= 4,626) that included numerous measures of factual knowledge and beliefs about evolution. The items offer more nuanced response options than the standard three-category question asked for decades by the Gallup poll. The Harris survey also had multiple measures of religiosity and the

  11. Homo Ethicus : Understanding the Human Nature that Underlies ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Abstract. The themes of human rights and human rights education in South Africa's multi-cultural society are central to the work of Cornelia Roux. This article discusses the human reality and ethics underlying those themes, using an approach based on a view of human nature. It has six sections, starting with an introduction ...

  12. Distinct transmissibility features of TSE sources derived from ruminant prion diseases by the oral route in a transgenic mouse model (TgOvPrP4 overexpressing the ovine prion protein.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jean-Noël Arsac

    Full Text Available Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs are a group of fatal neurodegenerative diseases associated with a misfolded form of host-encoded prion protein (PrP. Some of them, such as classical bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cattle (BSE, transmissible mink encephalopathy (TME, kuru and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, are acquired by the oral route exposure to infected tissues. We investigated the possible transmission by the oral route of a panel of strains derived from ruminant prion diseases in a transgenic mouse model (TgOvPrP4 overexpressing the ovine prion protein (A136R154Q171 under the control of the neuron-specific enolase promoter. Sources derived from Nor98, CH1641 or 87V scrapie sources, as well as sources derived from L-type BSE or cattle-passaged TME, failed to transmit by the oral route, whereas those derived from classical BSE and classical scrapie were successfully transmitted. Apart from a possible effect of passage history of the TSE agent in the inocula, this implied the occurrence of subtle molecular changes in the protease-resistant prion protein (PrPres following oral transmission that can raises concerns about our ability to correctly identify sheep that might be orally infected by the BSE agent in the field. Our results provide proof of principle that transgenic mouse models can be used to examine the transmissibility of TSE agents by the oral route, providing novel insights regarding the pathogenesis of prion diseases.

  13. Role of Prion Protein Aggregation in Neurotoxicity

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tullio Florio

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available In several neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson, Alzheimer’s, Huntington, and prion diseases, the deposition of aggregated misfolded proteins is believed to be responsible for the neurotoxicity that characterizes these diseases. Prion protein (PrP, the protein responsible of prion diseases, has been deeply studied for the peculiar feature of its misfolded oligomers that are able to propagate within affected brains, inducing the conversion of the natively folded PrP into the pathological conformation. In this review, we summarize the available experimental evidence concerning the relationship between aggregation status of misfolded PrP and neuronal death in the course of prion diseases. In particular, we describe the main findings resulting from the use of different synthetic (mainly PrP106-126 and recombinant PrP-derived peptides, as far as mechanisms of aggregation and amyloid formation, and how these different spatial conformations can affect neuronal death. In particular, most data support the involvement of non-fibrillar oligomers rather than actual amyloid fibers as the determinant of neuronal death.

  14. The structural core of prion disease

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Boshuizen, R.S.

    2010-01-01

    Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases are serious neurological ailments, in which the brain tissue deteriorates by progressive loss of brain cells which results in the loss of a wide variety of brain functions, including memory, speech and locomotion. Similar conditions

  15. Neuroinflammation in Alzheimer's disease and prion disease

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Eikelenboom, P.; Bate, C.; van Gool, W. A.; Hoozemans, J. J. M.; Rozemuller, J. M.; Veerhuis, R.; Williams, A.

    2002-01-01

    Alzheimer's disease (AD) and prion disease are characterized neuropathologically by extracellular deposits of Abeta and PrP amyloid fibrils, respectively. In both disorders, these cerebral amyloid deposits are co-localized with a broad variety of inflammation-related proteins (complement factors,

  16. Chronic wasting disease: Bambi vs. the prion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chronic wasting disease (CWD) was first described in Colorado in 1967 and subsequently recognized as a prion disease in 1980. CWD has a long and asymptomatic incubation period (> 1 year) followed by a short disease course that ends in the death of the animal. There is no known treatment or cure for ...

  17. Prions: Protein Rebels with a Cause!

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marshall, Karen E.; Serpell, Louise C.

    2017-01-01

    Traditionally we consider infection to arise from viruses, bacteria and parasites. Prions are infectious proteins without any nucleic acids, and therefore do not represent living things. Despite this, they have the ability to replicate themselves and cause diseases such as mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encepthalopathy) and human…

  18. Prion Disease: Learn the Facts. Avoid Exposure.

    Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Podcasts

    2011-05-23

    This podcast discusses prion diseases and the risk of exposure associated with some common activities.  Created: 5/23/2011 by National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID).   Date Released: 5/23/2011.

  19. Understanding human genetic variation in the era of high-throughput sequencing

    OpenAIRE

    Knight, Julian C.

    2010-01-01

    The EMBO/EMBL symposium ‘Human Variation: Cause and Consequence' highlighted advances in understanding the molecular basis of human genetic variation and its myriad implications for biology, human origins and disease.

  20. Live-cell FRET imaging reveals clustering of the prion protein at the cell surface induced by infectious prions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tavares, Evandro; Macedo, Joana A; Paulo, Pedro M R; Tavares, Catarina; Lopes, Carlos; Melo, Eduardo P

    2014-07-01

    Prion diseases are associated to the conversion of the prion protein into a misfolded pathological isoform. The mechanism of propagation of protein misfolding by protein templating remains largely unknown. Neuroblastoma cells were transfected with constructs of the prion protein fused to both CFP-GPI-anchored and to YFP-GPI-anchored and directed to its cell membrane location. Live-cell FRET imaging between the prion protein fused to CFP or YFP was measured giving consistent values of 10±2%. This result was confirmed by fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy and indicates intermolecular interactions between neighbor prion proteins. In particular, considering that a maximum FRET efficiency of 17±2% was determined from a positive control consisting of a fusion CFP-YFP-GPI-anchored. A stable cell clone expressing the two fusions containing the prion protein was also selected to minimize cell-to-cell variability. In both, stable and transiently transfected cells, the FRET efficiency consistently increased in the presence of infectious prions - from 4±1% to 7±1% in the stable clone and from 10±2% to 16±1% in transiently transfected cells. These results clearly reflect an increased clustering of the prion protein on the membrane in the presence of infectious prions, which was not observed in negative control using constructs without the prion protein and upon addition of non-infected brain. Our data corroborates the recent view that the primary site for prion conversion is the cell membrane. Since our fluorescent cell clone is not susceptible to propagate infectivity, we hypothesize that the initial event of prion infectivity might be the clustering of the GPI-anchored prion protein. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  1. Evolution of Diagnostic Tests for Chronic Wasting Disease, a Naturally Occurring Prion Disease of Cervids

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas J. Haley

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Since chronic wasting disease (CWD was first identified nearly 50 years ago in a captive mule deer herd in the Rocky Mountains of the United States, it has slowly spread across North America through the natural and anthropogenic movement of cervids and their carcasses. As the endemic areas have expanded, so has the need for rapid, sensitive, and cost effective diagnostic tests—especially those which take advantage of samples collected antemortem. Over the past two decades, strategies have evolved from the recognition of microscopic spongiform pathology and associated immunohistochemical staining of the misfolded prion protein to enzyme-linked immunoassays capable of detecting the abnormal prion conformer in postmortem samples. In a history that parallels the diagnosis of more conventional infectious agents, both qualitative and real-time amplification assays have recently been developed to detect minute quantities of misfolded prions in a range of biological and environmental samples. With these more sensitive and semi-quantitative approaches has come a greater understanding of the pathogenesis and epidemiology of this disease in the native host. Because the molecular pathogenesis of prion protein misfolding is broadly analogous to the misfolding of other pathogenic proteins, including Aβ and α-synuclein, efforts are currently underway to apply these in vitro amplification techniques towards the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other proteinopathies. Chronic wasting disease—once a rare disease of Colorado mule deer—now represents one of the most prevalent prion diseases, and should serve as a model for the continued development and implementation of novel diagnostic strategies for protein misfolding disorders in the natural host.

  2. The POM monoclonals: a comprehensive set of antibodies to non-overlapping prion protein epitopes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Magdalini Polymenidou

    Full Text Available PrP(Sc, a misfolded and aggregated form of the cellular prion protein PrP(C, is the only defined constituent of the transmissible agent causing prion diseases. Expression of PrP(C in the host organism is necessary for prion replication and for prion neurotoxicity. Understanding prion diseases necessitates detailed structural insights into PrP(C and PrP(Sc. Towards this goal, we have developed a comprehensive collection of monoclonal antibodies denoted POM1 to POM19 and directed against many different epitopes of mouse PrP(C. Three epitopes are located within the N-terminal octarepeat region, one is situated within the central unstructured region, and four epitopes are discontinuous within the globular C-proximal domain of PrP(C. Some of these antibodies recognize epitopes that are resilient to protease digestion in PrP(Sc. Other antibodies immunoprecipitate PrP(C, but not PrP(Sc. A third group was found to immunoprecipitate both PrP isoforms. Some of the latter antibodies could be blocked with epitope-mimicking peptides, and incubation with an excess of these peptides allowed for immunochromatography of PrP(C and PrP(Sc. Amino-proximal antibodies were found to react with repetitive PrP(C epitopes, thereby vastly increasing their avidity. We have also created functional single-chain miniantibodies from selected POMs, which retained the binding characteristics despite their low molecular mass. The POM collection, thus, represents a unique set of reagents allowing for studies with a variety of techniques, including western blotting, ELISA, immunoprecipitation, conformation-dependent immunoassays, and plasmon surface plasmon resonance-based assays.

  3. Development of techniques in magnetic resonance and structural studies of the prion protein

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bitter, Hans-Marcus L. [Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States)

    2000-07-01

    Magnetic resonance is the most powerful analytical tool used by chemists today. Its applications range from determining structures of large biomolecules to imaging of human brains. Nevertheless, magnetic resonance remains a relatively young field, in which many techniques are currently being developed that have broad applications. In this dissertation, two new techniques are presented, one that enables the determination of torsion angles in solid-state peptides and proteins, and another that involves imaging of heterogenous materials at ultra-low magnetic fields. In addition, structural studies of the prion protein via solid-state NMR are described. More specifically, work is presented in which the dependence of chemical shifts on local molecular structure is used to predict chemical shift tensors in solid-state peptides with theoretical ab initio surfaces. These predictions are then used to determine the backbone dihedral angles in peptides. This method utilizes the theoretical chemicalshift tensors and experimentally determined chemical-shift anisotropies (CSAs) to predict the backbone and side chain torsion angles in alanine, leucine, and valine residues. Additionally, structural studies of prion protein fragments are described in which conformationally-dependent chemical-shift measurements were made to gain insight into the structural differences between the various conformational states of the prion protein. These studies are of biological and pathological interest since conformational changes in the prion protein are believed to cause prion diseases. Finally, an ultra-low field magnetic resonance imaging technique is described that enables imaging and characterization of heterogeneous and porous media. The notion of imaging gases at ultra-low fields would appear to be very difficult due to the prohibitively low polarization and spin densities as well as the low sensitivities of conventional Faraday coil detectors. However, Chapter 5 describes how gas imaging

  4. Saccharomyces cerevisiae: a sexy yeast with a prion problem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kelly, Amy C; Wickner, Reed B

    2013-01-01

    Yeast prions are infectious proteins that spread exclusively by mating. The frequency of prions in the wild therefore largely reflects the rate of spread by mating counterbalanced by prion growth slowing effects in the host. We recently showed that the frequency of outcross mating is about 1% of mitotic doublings with 23-46% of total matings being outcrosses. These findings imply that even the mildest forms of the [PSI+], [URE3] and [PIN+] prions impart > 1% growth/survival detriment on their hosts. Our estimate of outcrossing suggests that Saccharomyces cerevisiae is far more sexual than previously thought and would therefore be more responsive to the adaptive effects of natural selection compared with a strictly asexual yeast. Further, given its large effective population size, a growth/survival detriment of > 1% for yeast prions should strongly select against prion-infected strains in wild populations of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

  5. Prion protein (PrP) gene-knockout cell lines: insight into functions of the PrP

    OpenAIRE

    Sakudo, Akikazu; Onodera, Takashi

    2015-01-01

    Elucidation of prion protein (PrP) functions is crucial to fully understand prion diseases. A major approach to studying PrP functions is the use of PrP gene-knockout (Prnp ?/?) mice. So far, six types of Prnp ?/? mice have been generated, demonstrating the promiscuous functions of PrP. Recently, other PrP family members, such as Doppel and Shadoo, have been found. However, information obtained from comparative studies of structural and functional analyses of these PrP family proteins do not ...

  6. Human enhancement and communication: on meaning and shared understanding.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cabrera, Laura; Weckert, John

    2013-09-01

    Our technologies have enabled us to change both the world and our perceptions of the world, as well as to change ourselves and to find new ways to fulfil the human desire for improvement and for having new capacities. The debate around using technology for human enhancement has already raised many ethical concerns, however little research has been done in how human enhancement can affect human communication. The purpose of this paper is to explore whether some human enhancements could change our shared lifeworld so radically that human communication as we know it would not be possible any longer. After exploring the kinds of communication problems we are concerned with as well as mentioning some possible enhancement interventions that could bring about such problems, we will address some of the ethical implications that follow from these potential communication problems. We argue that because of the role that communication plays in human society, this issue deserves attention.

  7. Anti-prion activity of Brilliant Blue G.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yoshifumi Iwamaru

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative disorders with no effective therapy currently available. Accumulating evidence has implicated over-activation of P2X7 ionotropic purinergic receptor (P2X7R in the progression of neuronal loss in several neurodegenerative diseases. This has led to the speculation that simultaneous blockade of this receptor and prion replication can be an effective therapeutic strategy for prion diseases. We have focused on Brilliant Blue G (BBG, a well-known P2X7R antagonist, possessing a chemical structure expected to confer anti-prion activity and examined its inhibitory effect on the accumulation of pathogenic isoforms of prion protein (PrPres in a cellular and a mouse model of prion disease in order to determine its therapeutic potential. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: BBG prevented PrPres accumulation in infected MG20 microglial and N2a neural cells at 50% inhibitory concentrations of 14.6 and 3.2 µM, respectively. Administration of BBG in vivo also reduced PrPres accumulation in the brains of mice with prion disease. However, it did not appear to alleviate the disease progression compared to the vehicle-treated controls, implying a complex role of P2X7R on the neuronal degeneration in prion diseases. SIGNIFICANCE: These results provide novel insights into the pathophysiology of prion diseases and have important implications for the treatment.

  8. The Role of Unfolded Protein Response and Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Signaling in Neurodegenerative Diseases with Special Focus on Prion Diseases

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lifeng Yang

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available Prion diseases are neurodegenerative pathologies characterized by the accumulation of a protease-resistant form of the cellular prion protein named prion protein scrapie (PrPSc in the brain. PrPSc accumulation in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER result in a dysregulated calcium (Ca2+ homeostasis and subsequent initiation of unfolded protein response (UPR leading to neuronal dysfunction and apoptosis. The molecular mechanisms for the transition between adaptation to ER stress and ER stress-induced apoptosis are still unclear. Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs are serine/threonine protein kinases that rule the signaling of many extracellular stimuli from plasma membrane to the nucleus. However the identification of numerous points of cross talk between the UPR and MAPK signaling pathways may contribute to our understanding of the consequences of ER stress in prion diseases. Indeed the MAPK signaling network is known to regulate cell cycle progression and cell survival or death responses following a variety of stresses including misfolded protein response stress. In this article, we review the UPR signaling in prion diseases and discuss the triad of MAPK signaling pathways. We also describe the role played by MAPK signaling cascades in Alzheimer’s (AD and Parkinson’s disease (PD. We will also overview the mechanisms of cell death and the role of MAPK signaling in prion disease progression and highlight potential avenues for therapeutic intervention.

  9. Soluble polymorphic bank vole prion proteins induced by co-expression of quiescin sulfhydryl oxidase in E. coli and their aggregation behaviors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abskharon, Romany; Dang, Johnny; Elfarash, Ameer; Wang, Zerui; Shen, Pingping; Zou, Lewis S; Hassan, Sedky; Wang, Fei; Fujioka, Hisashi; Steyaert, Jan; Mulaj, Mentor; Surewicz, Witold K; Castilla, Joaquín; Wohlkonig, Alexandre; Zou, Wen-Quan

    2017-10-04

    The infectious prion protein (PrP Sc or prion) is derived from its cellular form (PrP C ) through a conformational transition in animal and human prion diseases. Studies have shown that the interspecies conversion of PrP C to PrP Sc is largely swayed by species barriers, which is mainly deciphered by the sequence and conformation of the proteins among species. However, the bank vole PrP C (BVPrP) is highly susceptible to PrP Sc from different species. Transgenic mice expressing BVPrP with the polymorphic isoleucine (109I) but methionine (109M) at residue 109 spontaneously develop prion disease. To explore the mechanism underlying the unique susceptibility and convertibility, we generated soluble BVPrP by co-expression of BVPrP with Quiescin sulfhydryl oxidase (QSOX) in Escherichia coli. Interestingly, rBVPrP-109M and rBVPrP-109I exhibited distinct seeded aggregation pathways and aggregate morphologies upon seeding of mouse recombinant PrP fibrils, as monitored by thioflavin T fluorescence and electron microscopy. Moreover, they displayed different aggregation behaviors induced by seeding of hamster and mouse prion strains under real-time quaking-induced conversion. Our results suggest that QSOX facilitates the formation of soluble prion protein and provide further evidence that the polymorphism at residue 109 of QSOX-induced BVPrP may be a determinant in mediating its distinct convertibility and susceptibility.

  10. High School Students' Understanding of the Human Body System

    Science.gov (United States)

    Assaraf, Orit Ben-Zvi; Dodick, Jeff; Tripto, Jaklin

    2013-01-01

    In this study, 120 tenth-grade students from 8 schools were examined to determine the extent of their ability to perceive the human body as a system after completing the first stage in their biology curriculum--"The human body, emphasizing homeostasis". The students' systems thinking was analyzed according to the STH thinking model, which roughly…

  11. [Towards understanding human ecology in nursing practice: a concept analysis].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huynh, Truc; Alderson, Marie

    2010-06-01

    Human ecology is an umbrella concept encompassing several social, physical, and cultural elements existing in the individual's external environment. The pragmatic utility method was used to analyze the "human ecology" concept in order to ascertain the conceptual fit with nursing epistemology and to promote its use by nurses in clinical practice. Relevant articles for the review were retrieved from the MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and CSA databases using the terms "human ecology," "environment," "nursing," and "ecology." Data analysis revealed that human ecology is perceived as a theoretical perspective designating a complex, multilayered, and multidimensional system, one that comprises individuals and their reciprocal interactions with their global environments and the subsequent impact of these interactions upon their health. Human ecology preconditions include the individuals, their environments, and their transactions. Attributes of this concept encompass the characteristics of an open system (e.g., interdependence, reciprocal).

  12. Understanding 3D human torso shape via manifold clustering

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Sheng; Li, Peng; Fu, Yun

    2013-05-01

    Discovering the variations in human torso shape plays a key role in many design-oriented applications, such as suit designing. With recent advances in 3D surface imaging technologies, people can obtain 3D human torso data that provide more information than traditional measurements. However, how to find different human shapes from 3D torso data is still an open problem. In this paper, we propose to use spectral clustering approach on torso manifold to address this problem. We first represent high-dimensional torso data in a low-dimensional space using manifold learning algorithm. Then the spectral clustering method is performed to get several disjoint clusters. Experimental results show that the clusters discovered by our approach can describe the discrepancies in both genders and human shapes, and our approach achieves better performance than the compared clustering method.

  13. Prion-Specific Antibodies Produced in Wild-Type Mice

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Heegaard, Peter M. H.; Bergström, Ann-Louise; Andersen, Heidi Gertz

    2015-01-01

    Peptide-specific antibodies produced against synthetic peptides are of high value in probing protein structure and function, especially when working with challenging proteins, including not readily available, non-immunogenic, toxic, and/or pathogenic proteins. Here, we present a straightforward...... method for production of mouse monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against peptides representing two sites of interest in the bovine prion protein (boPrP), the causative agent of bovine spongiform encephalopathy ("mad cow disease") and new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob's disease (CJD) in humans, as well......-peptide antibodies, even against peptides very homologous to murine protein sequences. In general, using the strategies described here for selecting, synthesizing, and conjugating peptides and immunizing 4-5 mice with 2-3 different peptides, high-titered antibodies reacting with the target protein are routinely...

  14. 3D Data Acquisition Platform for Human Activity Understanding

    Science.gov (United States)

    2016-03-02

    SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF: In this project, we incorporated motion capture devices, 3D vision sensors, and EMG sensors to cross validate...multimodality data acquisition, and address fundamental research problems of representation and invariant description of 3D data, human motion modeling and...applications of human activity analysis, and computational optimization of large-scale 3D data. The support for the acquisition of such research

  15. Involvement of Endogenous Retroviruses in Prion Diseases

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yong-Sun Kim

    2013-08-01

    Full Text Available For millions of years, vertebrates have been continuously exposed to infection by retroviruses. Ancient retroviral infection of germline cells resulted in the formation and accumulation of inherited retrovirus sequences in host genomes. These inherited retroviruses are referred to as endogenous retroviruses (ERVs, and recent estimates have revealed that a significant portion of animal genomes is made up of ERVs. Although various host factors have suppressed ERV activation, both positive and negative functions have been reported for some ERVs in normal and abnormal physiological conditions, such as in disease states. Similar to other complex diseases, ERV activation has been observed in prion diseases, and this review will discuss the potential involvement of ERVs in prion diseases.

  16. Robotic Billiards: Understanding Humans in Order to Counter Them.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nierhoff, Thomas; Leibrandt, Konrad; Lorenz, Tamara; Hirche, Sandra

    2016-08-01

    Ongoing technological advances in the areas of computation, sensing, and mechatronics enable robotic-based systems to interact with humans in the real world. To succeed against a human in a competitive scenario, a robot must anticipate the human behavior and include it in its own planning framework. Then it can predict the next human move and counter it accordingly, thus not only achieving overall better performance but also systematically exploiting the opponent's weak spots. Pool is used as a representative scenario to derive a model-based planning and control framework where not only the physics of the environment but also a model of the opponent is considered. By representing the game of pool as a Markov decision process and incorporating a model of the human decision-making based on studies, an optimized policy is derived. This enables the robot to include the opponent's typical game style into its tactical considerations when planning a stroke. The results are validated in simulations and real-life experiments with an anthropomorphic robot playing pool against a human.

  17. Shaking alone induces de novo conversion of recombinant prion proteins to β-sheet rich oligomers and fibrils.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carol L Ladner-Keay

    Full Text Available The formation of β-sheet rich prion oligomers and fibrils from native prion protein (PrP is thought to be a key step in the development of prion diseases. Many methods are available to convert recombinant prion protein into β-sheet rich fibrils using various chemical denaturants (urea, SDS, GdnHCl, high temperature, phospholipids, or mildly acidic conditions (pH 4. Many of these methods also require shaking or another form of agitation to complete the conversion process. We have identified that shaking alone causes the conversion of recombinant PrP to β-sheet rich oligomers and fibrils at near physiological pH (pH 5.5 to pH 6.2 and temperature. This conversion does not require any denaturant, detergent, or any other chemical cofactor. Interestingly, this conversion does not occur when the water-air interface is eliminated in the shaken sample. We have analyzed shaking-induced conversion using circular dichroism, resolution enhanced native acidic gel electrophoresis (RENAGE, electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, thioflavin T fluorescence and proteinase K resistance. Our results show that shaking causes the formation of β-sheet rich oligomers with a population distribution ranging from octamers to dodecamers and that further shaking causes a transition to β-sheet fibrils. In addition, we show that shaking-induced conversion occurs for a wide range of full-length and truncated constructs of mouse, hamster and cervid prion proteins. We propose that this method of conversion provides a robust, reproducible and easily accessible model for scrapie-like amyloid formation, allowing the generation of milligram quantities of physiologically stable β-sheet rich oligomers and fibrils. These results may also have interesting implications regarding our understanding of prion conversion and propagation both within the brain and via techniques such as protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA and quaking induced conversion (QuIC.

  18. Methods and Protocols for Developing Prion Vaccines.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marciniuk, Kristen; Taschuk, Ryan; Napper, Scott

    2016-01-01

    Prion diseases denote a distinct form of infectivity that is based in the misfolding of a self-protein (PrP(C)) into a pathological, infectious conformation (PrP(Sc)). Efforts to develop vaccines for prion diseases have been complicated by the potential dangers that are associated with induction of immune responses against a self-protein. As a consequence, there is considerable appeal for vaccines that specifically target the misfolded prion conformation. Such conformation-specific immunotherapy is made possible through the identification of vaccine targets (epitopes) that are exclusively presented as a consequence of misfolding. An immune response directed against these targets, termed disease-specific epitopes (DSEs), has the potential to spare the function of the native form of the protein while clearing, or neutralizing, the infectious isomer. Although identification of DSEs represents a critical first step in the induction of conformation-specific immune responses, substantial efforts are required to translate these targets into functional vaccines. Due to the poor immunogenicity that is inherent to self-proteins, and that is often associated with short peptides, substantial efforts are required to overcome tolerance-to-self and maximize the resultant immune response following DSE-based immunization. This often includes optimization of target sequences in terms of immunogenicity and development of effective formulation and delivery strategies for the associated peptides. Further, these vaccines must satisfy additional criteria from perspectives of specificity (PrP(C) vs. PrP(Sc)) and safety (antibody-induced template-driven misfolding of PrP(C)). The emphasis of this report is on the steps required to translate DSEs into prion vaccines and subsequent evaluation of the resulting immune responses.

  19. Mutation directional selection sheds light on prion pathogenesis

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Shen, Liang [Shandong Provincial Research Center for Bioinformatic Engineering and Technique, Shandong University of Technology, Zibo 255049 (China); Ji, Hong-Fang, E-mail: jhf@sdut.edu.cn [Shandong Provincial Research Center for Bioinformatic Engineering and Technique, Shandong University of Technology, Zibo 255049 (China)

    2011-07-01

    Highlights: {yields} Most pathogenic mutations possess strong directional selection, i.e., enhancing hydrophobicity or decreasing negative and increasing positive charge. {yields} Mutation-induced changes may strengthen the interactions between PrP and facilitating factors. {yields} The findings also have significant implications for exploring potential regions involved in the conformational transition from PrP{sup C} to PrP{sup Sc}. -- Abstract: As mutations in the PRNP gene account for human hereditary prion diseases (PrDs), it is crucial to elucidating how these mutations affect the central pathogenic conformational transition of normal cellular prion protein (PrP{sup C}) to abnormal scrapie isoform (PrP{sup Sc}). Many studies proposed that these pathogenic mutations may make PrP more susceptible to conformational change through altering its structure stability. By evaluating the most recent observations regarding pathogenic mutations, it was found that the pathogenic mutations do not exert a uniform effect on the thermodynamic stability of the human PrP's structure. Through analyzing the reported PrDs-related mutations, we found that 25 out of 27 mutations possess strong directional selection, i.e., enhancing hydrophobicity or decreasing negative and increasing positive charge. Based on the triggering role reported by previous studies of facilitating factors in PrP{sup C} conversion, e.g., lipid and polyanion, we proposed that the mutation-induced changes may strengthen the interaction between PrP and facilitating factors, which will accelerate PrP conversion and cause PrDs.

  20. Intraperitoneal Infection of Wild-Type Mice with Synthetically Generated Mammalian Prion.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xinhe Wang

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available The prion hypothesis postulates that the infectious agent in transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs is an unorthodox protein conformation based agent. Recent successes in generating mammalian prions in vitro with bacterially expressed recombinant prion protein provide strong support for the hypothesis. However, whether the pathogenic properties of synthetically generated prion (rec-Prion recapitulate those of naturally occurring prions remains unresolved. Using end-point titration assay, we showed that the in vitro prepared rec-Prions have infectious titers of around 104 LD50/μg. In addition, intraperitoneal (i.p. inoculation of wild-type mice with rec-Prion caused prion disease with an average survival time of 210-220 days post inoculation. Detailed pathological analyses revealed that the nature of rec-Prion induced lesions, including spongiform change, disease specific prion protein accumulation (PrP-d and the PrP-d dissemination amongst lymphoid and peripheral nervous system tissues, the route and mechanisms of neuroinvasion were all typical of classical rodent prions. Our results revealed that, similar to naturally occurring prions, the rec-Prion has a titratable infectivity and is capable of causing prion disease via routes other than direct intra-cerebral challenge. More importantly, our results established that the rec-Prion caused disease is pathogenically and pathologically identical to naturally occurring contagious TSEs, supporting the concept that a conformationally altered protein agent is responsible for the infectivity in TSEs.

  1. The Distribution of Prion Protein Allotypes Differs Between Sporadic and Iatrogenic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Patients.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moore, Roger A; Head, Mark W; Ironside, James W; Ritchie, Diane L; Zanusso, Gianluigi; Choi, Young Pyo; Pyo Choi, Young; Priola, Suzette A

    2016-02-01

    Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) is the most prevalent of the human prion diseases, which are fatal and transmissible neurodegenerative diseases caused by the infectious prion protein (PrP(Sc)). The origin of sCJD is unknown, although the initiating event is thought to be the stochastic misfolding of endogenous prion protein (PrP(C)) into infectious PrP(Sc). By contrast, human growth hormone-associated cases of iatrogenic CJD (iCJD) in the United Kingdom (UK) are associated with exposure to an exogenous source of PrP(Sc). In both forms of CJD, heterozygosity at residue 129 for methionine (M) or valine (V) in the prion protein gene may affect disease phenotype, onset and progression. However, the relative contribution of each PrP(C) allotype to PrP(Sc) in heterozygous cases of CJD is unknown. Using mass spectrometry, we determined that the relative abundance of PrP(Sc) with M or V at residue 129 in brain specimens from MV cases of sCJD was highly variable. This result is consistent with PrP(C) containing an M or V at residue 129 having a similar propensity to misfold into PrP(Sc) thus causing sCJD. By contrast, PrP(Sc) with V at residue 129 predominated in the majority of the UK human growth hormone associated iCJD cases, consistent with exposure to infectious PrP(Sc) containing V at residue 129. In both types of CJD, the PrP(Sc) allotype ratio had no correlation with CJD type, age at clinical onset, or disease duration. Therefore, factors other than PrP(Sc) allotype abundance must influence the clinical progression and phenotype of heterozygous cases of CJD.

  2. From Human Activity to Conceptual Understanding of the Chain Rule

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jojo, Zingiswa Mybert Monica; Maharaj, Aneshkumar; Brijlall, Deonarain

    2013-01-01

    This article reports on a study which investigated first year university engineering students' construction of the definition of the concept of the chain rule in differential calculus at a University of Technology in South Africa. An APOS (Action-Process-Objects-Schema) approach was used to explore conceptual understanding displayed by students in…

  3. Resistance of soil-bound prions to rumen digestion.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Samuel E Saunders

    Full Text Available Before prion uptake and infection can occur in the lower gastrointestinal system, ingested prions are subjected to anaerobic digestion in the rumen of cervids and bovids. The susceptibility of soil-bound prions to rumen digestion has not been evaluated previously. In this study, prions from infectious brain homogenates as well as prions bound to a range of soils and soil minerals were subjected to in vitro rumen digestion, and changes in PrP levels were measured via western blot. Binding to clay appeared to protect noninfectious hamster PrP(c from complete digestion, while both unbound and soil-bound infectious PrP(Sc proved highly resistant to rumen digestion. In addition, no change in intracerebral incubation period was observed following active rumen digestion of unbound hamster HY TME prions and HY TME prions bound to a silty clay loam soil. These results demonstrate that both unbound and soil-bound prions readily survive rumen digestion without a reduction in infectivity, further supporting the potential for soil-mediated transmission of chronic wasting disease (CWD and scrapie in the environment.

  4. Disturbed vesicular trafficking of membrane proteins in prion disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Uchiyama, Keiji; Miyata, Hironori; Sakaguchi, Suehiro

    2013-01-01

    The pathogenic mechanism of prion diseases remains unknown. We recently reported that prion infection disturbs post-Golgi trafficking of certain types of membrane proteins to the cell surface, resulting in reduced surface expression of membrane proteins and abrogating the signal from the proteins. The surface expression of the membrane proteins was reduced in the brains of mice inoculated with prions, well before abnormal symptoms became evident. Prions or pathogenic prion proteins were mainly detected in endosomal compartments, being particularly abundant in recycling endosomes. Some newly synthesized membrane proteins are delivered to the surface from the Golgi apparatus through recycling endosomes, and some endocytosed membrane proteins are delivered back to the surface through recycling endosomes. These results suggest that prions might cause neuronal dysfunctions and cell loss by disturbing post-Golgi trafficking of membrane proteins via accumulation in recycling endosomes. Interestingly, it was recently shown that delivery of a calcium channel protein to the cell surface was impaired and its function was abrogated in a mouse model of hereditary prion disease. Taken together, these results suggest that impaired delivery of membrane proteins to the cell surface is a common pathogenic event in acquired and hereditary prion diseases.

  5. Selfish prion of Rnq1 mutant in yeast.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kurahashi, Hiroshi; Shibata, Shoichiro; Ishiwata, Masao; Nakamura, Yoshikazu

    2009-05-01

    [PIN(+)] is a prion form of Rnq1 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and is necessary for the de novo induction of a second prion, [PSI(+)]. We previously isolated a truncated form of Rnq1, named Rnq1Delta100, as a [PSI(+)]-eliminating factor in S. cerevisiae. Rnq1Delta100 deletes the N-terminal non-prion domain of Rnq1, and eliminates [PSI(+)] in [PIN(+)] yeast. Here we found that [PIN(+)] is transmissible to Rnq1Delta100 in the absence of full-length Rnq1, forming a novel prion variant [RNQ1Delta100(+)]. [RNQ1Delta100(+)] has similar [PIN(+)] properties as it stimulates the de novo induction of [PSI(+)] and is eliminated by the null hsp104Delta mutation, but not by Hsp104 overproduction. In contrast, [RNQ1Delta100(+)] inherits the inhibitory activity and hampers the maintenance of [PSI(+)] though less efficiently than [PIN(+)] made of Rnq1-Rnq1Delta100 co-aggregates. Interestingly, [RNQ1Delta100(+)] prion was eliminated by de novo [PSI(+)] induction. Thus, the [RNQ1Delta100(+)] prion demonstrates selfish activity to eliminate a heterologous prion in S. cerevisiae, showing the first instance of a selfish prion variant in living organisms.

  6. Resistance of Soil-Bound Prions to Rumen Digestion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saunders, Samuel E.; Bartelt-Hunt, Shannon L.; Bartz, Jason C.

    2012-01-01

    Before prion uptake and infection can occur in the lower gastrointestinal system, ingested prions are subjected to anaerobic digestion in the rumen of cervids and bovids. The susceptibility of soil-bound prions to rumen digestion has not been evaluated previously. In this study, prions from infectious brain homogenates as well as prions bound to a range of soils and soil minerals were subjected to in vitro rumen digestion, and changes in PrP levels were measured via western blot. Binding to clay appeared to protect noninfectious hamster PrPc from complete digestion, while both unbound and soil-bound infectious PrPSc proved highly resistant to rumen digestion. In addition, no change in intracerebral incubation period was observed following active rumen digestion of unbound hamster HY TME prions and HY TME prions bound to a silty clay loam soil. These results demonstrate that both unbound and soil-bound prions readily survive rumen digestion without a reduction in infectivity, further supporting the potential for soil-mediated transmission of chronic wasting disease (CWD) and scrapie in the environment. PMID:22937149

  7. Do prion protein gene polymorphisms induce apoptosis in non ...

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    2016-08-26

    Aug 26, 2016 ... Genetic variations such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in prion protein coding gene, Prnp, greatly affect susceptibility to prion diseases in mammals. Here, the coding region of Prnp was screened for polymorphisms in redeared turtle, Trachemys scripta. Four polymorphisms, L203V, N205I, ...

  8. New insights into structural determinants of prion protein folding and stability.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benetti, Federico; Legname, Giuseppe

    2015-01-01

    Prions are the etiological agent of fatal neurodegenerative diseases called prion diseases or transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. These maladies can be sporadic, genetic or infectious disorders. Prions are due to post-translational modifications of the cellular prion protein leading to the formation of a β-sheet enriched conformer with altered biochemical properties. The molecular events causing prion formation in sporadic prion diseases are still elusive. Recently, we published a research elucidating the contribution of major structural determinants and environmental factors in prion protein folding and stability. Our study highlighted the crucial role of octarepeats in stabilizing prion protein; the presence of a highly enthalpically stable intermediate state in prion-susceptible species; and the role of disulfide bridge in preserving native fold thus avoiding the misfolding to a β-sheet enriched isoform. Taking advantage from these findings, in this work we present new insights into structural determinants of prion protein folding and stability.

  9. Towards a mechanistic understanding of the human subcortex

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Forstmann, B.U.; de Hollander, G.; van Maanen, L.; Alkemade, A.; Keuken, M.C.

    The human subcortex is a densely populated part of the brain, of which only 7% of the individual structures are depicted in standard MRI atlases. In vivo MRI of the subcortex is challenging owing to its anatomical complexity and its deep location in the brain. The technical advances that are needed

  10. Towards a mechanistic understanding of the human subcortex

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Forstmann, B. U.; de Hollander, Gilles; van Maanen, Leendert; Alkemade, Anneke; Keuken, Max C

    2017-01-01

    The human subcortex is a densely populated part of the brain, of which only 7% of the individual structures are depicted in standard MRI atlases. In vivo MRI of the subcortex is challenging owing to its anatomical complexity and its deep location in the brain. The technical advances that are needed

  11. Understanding Arts and Humanities Students' Experiences of Assessment and Feedback

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adams, Joelle; McNab, Nicole

    2013-01-01

    This article examines how undergraduate students on arts and humanities courses experience assessment and feedback. The research uses a detailed audit, a specially devised questionnaire (the Assessment Experience Questionnaire), and student focus group data, and the article examines results from 19 programmes, comparing those from "arts and…

  12. Understanding Human Impact: Second Graders Explore Watershed Dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Magruder, Robin; Rosenauer, Julia

    2016-01-01

    This article describes a second grade science enrichment unit with a focus on human impact, both positive and negative, on the living and nonliving components of the local watershed. Investigating the local watershed gave the unit a personal and pragmatic connection to students' lives because they depend on the local watershed for what they need…

  13. Understanding the Human Volcano: What Teens Can Do about Violence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hipp, Earl

    Anger and violence among children has moved from the streets to the schools, with tragic, and well-documented, results. This book addresses anger and violence among children and is, in essence, an anger-management course for teens, written at about an eighth-grade level. Part 1, "The Problems of Violence in Our World," explores human violence. It…

  14. Hemispheric Specialization and the Growth of Human Understanding.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kinsbourne, Marcel

    1982-01-01

    Connectionistic notions of hemispheric specialization and use are incompatible with the network organization of the human brain. Although brain organization has correspondence with phenomena at more complex levels of analysis, the correspondence is not categorical in nature, as has been claimed by the left-brain/right-brain theorists. (Author/GC)

  15. Understanding human factors in cyber security as a dynamic system

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Young, H.J.; Vliet, A.J. van; Ven, J.G.S. van de; Jol, S.C.; Broekman, C.C.M.T.

    2018-01-01

    The perspective of human factors is largely missing from the wider cyber security dialogue and its scope is often limited. We propose a framework in which we consider cyber security as a state of a system. System change is brought on by an entity’s behavior. Interventions are ways of changing

  16. Understanding in the humanities: Gadamer's thought at the ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Because Gadamer is very sensitive to the role of history, tradition and authority within human life, the overall intention of this article will be to unveil major elements of modern philosophy which exerted an influence upon his thought. In this sense it can be seen as applying his notion of 'Wirkungsgeschichte' to an assessment ...

  17. Understanding the heavy-tailed dynamics in human behavior

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ross, Gordon J.; Jones, Tim

    2015-06-01

    The recent availability of electronic data sets containing large volumes of communication data has made it possible to study human behavior on a larger scale than ever before. From this, it has been discovered that across a diverse range of data sets, the interevent times between consecutive communication events obey heavy-tailed power law dynamics. Explaining this has proved controversial, and two distinct hypotheses have emerged. The first holds that these power laws are fundamental, and arise from the mechanisms such as priority queuing that humans use to schedule tasks. The second holds that they are statistical artifacts which only occur in aggregated data when features such as circadian rhythms and burstiness are ignored. We use a large social media data set to test these hypotheses, and find that although models that incorporate circadian rhythms and burstiness do explain part of the observed heavy tails, there is residual unexplained heavy-tail behavior which suggests a more fundamental cause. Based on this, we develop a quantitative model of human behavior which improves on existing approaches and gives insight into the mechanisms underlying human interactions.

  18. Socially intelligent robots that understand and respond to human touch

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Jung, Merel Madeleine

    Touch is an important nonverbal form of interpersonal interaction which is used to communicate emotions and other social messages. As interactions with social robots are likely to become more common in the near future these robots should also be able to engage in tactile interaction with humans.

  19. HEIDEGGER’S HUMAN DIMENSION UNDERSTANDING OF TECHNOLOGY

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Uliana R. Vynnyk

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available The aim of the research is to identify M. Heidegger's human dimension approach to the issue of technology .It is achieved by means of applying methods of analysis and synthesis in relation to philosopher’s philosophical and technical ideas. Scientific novelty. Philosopher’s important human dimension trends concerning technology are outlined in the research and are manifested in the concern for individuals to keep their humanity and dignity and make for the freedom eliminating everything that may adversely affect their essence.(немного поменяла слова и их порядок The term "individual measurability" involves a process of spiritual and intellectual development of a man and, in this context, through his development and humanity one should evaluate everything created by him; technical, social progress should be seen primarily from the point of view of a free man, humane, rationally and existentially independent from the artificially created world, who is able to play an advanced role in the process of his own development, social progress and technology. Techniques and technologies, in their turn, should progress, based primarily on human needs. Individuals, coexisting with technical means should take everything that is good for them and simultaneously use them for their spiritual and personal development. Conclusion. Having occupied a special position in relation to the tradition of European criticism, the philosopher considered technology, its essence and specificity, as well as features of technical activities in different historical periods to be a subject of a positive philosophical analysis. Heidegger broke with the tradition of European philosophy of technology, which focused its attention on the direct, "obvious" achievements of progress, having showed that the effects of intrusion of technology are diverse and difficult to be predicted in the long run. Technological dependence is hardly fatal to humans in the

  20. Chronic wasting disease prion infection of differentiated neurospheres.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iwamaru, Yoshifumi; Mathiason, Candace K; Telling, Glenn C; Hoover, Edward A

    2017-07-04

    A possible strategy to develop more diverse cell culture systems permissive to infection with naturally occurring prions is to exploit culture of neurospheres from transgenic mice expressing the normal prion protein (PrP) of the native host species. Accordingly, we developed differentiated neurosphere cultures from the cervid PrP-expressing mice to investigate whether this in vitro system would support replication of non-adapted cervid-origin chronic wasting disease (CWD) prions. Here we report the successful amplification of disease-associated PrP in differentiated neurosphere cultures within 3 weeks after exposure to CWD prions from both white-tailed deer or elk. This neurosphere culture system provides a new in vitro tool that can be used to assess non-adapted CWD prion propagation and transmission.

  1. Aβ seeds and prions: How close the fit?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rasmussen, Jay; Jucker, Mathias; Walker, Lary C

    2017-07-04

    The prion paradigm is increasingly invoked to explain the molecular pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases involving the misfolding and aggregation of proteins other than the prion protein (PrP). Extensive evidence from in vitro and in vivo studies indicates that misfolded and aggregated Aβ peptide, which is the probable molecular trigger for Alzheimer's disease, manifests all of the key characteristics of canonical mammalian prions. These features include a β-sheet rich architecture, tendency to polymerize into amyloid, templated corruption of like protein molecules, ability to form structurally and functionally variant strains, systematic spread by neuronal transport, and resistance to inactivation by heat and formaldehyde. In addition to Aβ, a growing body of research supports the view that the prion-like molecular transformation of specific proteins drives the onset and course of a remarkable variety of clinicopathologically diverse diseases. As such, the expanded prion paradigm could conceptually unify fundamental and translational investigations of these disorders.

  2. Understanding Complex Human Ecosystems: The Case of Ecotourism on Bonaire

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thomas Abel

    2003-12-01

    Full Text Available It is suggested that ecotourism development on the island of Bonaire can be productively understood as a perturbation of a complex human ecosystem. Inputs associated with ecotourism have fueled transformations of the island ecology and sociocultural system. The results of this study indicate that Bonaire's social and economic hierarchy is approaching a new, stable systems state following a 50-yr transition begun by government and industry that stabilized with the appearance of ecotourism development and population growth. Ecotourism can be understood to have "filled in" the middle of the production hierarchy of Bonaire. Interpreted from this perspective, population growth has completed the transformation by expanding into production niches at smaller scales in the production hierarchy. Both a consequence and a cause, ecotourism has transformed the island's social structure and demography. The theory and methods applied in this case study of interdisciplinary research in the field of human ecosystems are also presented.

  3. Human reliability: an evaluation of its understanding and prediction

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Joksimovich, V.

    1987-01-01

    This paper presents a viewpoint on the state-of-the-art in human reliability. The bases for this viewpoint are, by and large, research projects conducted by the NUS for the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) primarily with the objective of further enhancing the credibility of PRA methodology. The presentation is divided into the following key sections: Background and Overview, Methodology and Data Base with emphasis on the simulator data base

  4. Biological and biochemical characterization of mice expressing prion protein devoid of the octapeptide repeat region after infection with prions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yamaguchi, Yoshitaka; Miyata, Hironori; Uchiyama, Keiji; Ootsuyama, Akira; Inubushi, Sachiko; Mori, Tsuyoshi; Muramatsu, Naomi; Katamine, Shigeru; Sakaguchi, Suehiro

    2012-01-01

    Accumulating lines of evidence indicate that the N-terminal domain of prion protein (PrP) is involved in prion susceptibility in mice. In this study, to investigate the role of the octapeptide repeat (OR) region alone in the N-terminal domain for the susceptibility and pathogenesis of prion disease, we intracerebrally inoculated RML scrapie prions into tg(PrPΔOR)/Prnp(0/0) mice, which express mouse PrP missing only the OR region on the PrP-null background. Incubation times of these mice were not extended. Protease-resistant PrPΔOR, or PrP(Sc)ΔOR, was easily detectable but lower in the brains of these mice, compared to that in control wild-type mice. Consistently, prion titers were slightly lower and astrogliosis was milder in their brains. However, in their spinal cords, PrP(Sc)ΔOR and prion titers were abundant and astrogliosis was as strong as in control wild-type mice. These results indicate that the role of the OR region in prion susceptibility and pathogenesis of the disease is limited. We also found that the PrP(Sc)ΔOR, including the pre-OR residues 23-50, was unusually protease-resistant, indicating that deletion of the OR region could cause structural changes to the pre-OR region upon prion infection, leading to formation of a protease-resistant structure for the pre-OR region.

  5. Prion Replication Elicits Cytopathic Changes in Differentiated Neurosphere Cultures

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iwamaru, Yoshifumi; Takenouchi, Takato; Imamura, Morikazu; Shimizu, Yoshihisa; Miyazawa, Kohtaro; Mohri, Shirou; Yokoyama, Takashi

    2013-01-01

    The molecular mechanisms of prion-induced cytotoxicity remain largely obscure. Currently, only a few cell culture models have exhibited the cytopathic changes associated with prion infection. In this study, we introduced a cell culture model based on differentiated neurosphere cultures isolated from the brains of neonatal prion protein (PrP)-null mice and transgenic mice expressing murine PrP (dNP0 and dNP20 cultures). Upon exposure to mouse Chandler prions, dNP20 cultures supported the de novo formation of abnormal PrP and the resulting infectivity, as assessed by bioassays. Furthermore, this culture was susceptible to various prion strains, including mouse-adapted scrapie, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, and Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker syndrome prions. Importantly, a subset of the cells in the infected culture that was mainly composed of astrocyte lineage cells consistently displayed late-occurring, progressive signs of cytotoxicity as evidenced by morphological alterations, decreased cell viability, and increased lactate dehydrogenase release. These signs of cytotoxicity were not observed in infected dNP0 cultures, suggesting the requirement of endogenous PrP expression for prion-induced cytotoxicity. Degenerated cells positive for glial fibrillary acidic protein accumulated abnormal PrP and exhibited features of apoptotic death as assessed by active caspase-3 and terminal deoxynucleotidyltransferase nick-end staining. Furthermore, caspase inhibition provided partial protection from prion-mediated cell death. These results suggest that differentiated neurosphere cultures can provide an in vitro bioassay for mouse prions and permit the study of the molecular basis for prion-induced cytotoxicity at the cellular level. PMID:23740992

  6. Rapid antemortem detection of CWD prions in deer saliva.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Davin M Henderson

    Full Text Available Chronic wasting disease (CWD is an efficiently transmitted prion disease of cervids, now identified in 22 United States, 2 Canadian provinces and Korea. One hallmark of CWD is the shedding of infectious prions in saliva, as demonstrated by bioassay in deer. It is also clear that the concentration of prions in saliva, blood, urine and feces is much lower than in the nervous system or lymphoid tissues. Rapid in vitro detection of CWD (and other prions in body fluids and excreta has been problematic due to the sensitivity limits of direct assays (western blotting, ELISA and the presence of inhibitors in these complex biological materials that hamper detection. Here we use real-time quaking induced conversion (RT-QuIC to demonstrate CWD prions in both diluted and prion-enriched saliva samples from asymptomatic and symptomatic white-tailed deer. CWD prions were detected in 14 of 24 (58.3% diluted saliva samples from CWD-exposed white-tailed deer, including 9 of 14 asymptomatic animals (64.2%. In addition, a phosphotungstic acid enrichment enhanced the RT-QuIC assay sensitivity, enabling detection in 19 of 24 (79.1% of the above saliva samples. Bioassay in Tg[CerPrP] mice confirmed the presence of infectious prions in 2 of 2 RT-QuIC-positive saliva samples so examined. The modified RT-QuIC analysis described represents a non-invasive, rapid ante-mortem detection of prions in complex biologic fluids, excreta, or environmental samples as well as a tool for exploring prion trafficking, peripheralization, and dissemination.

  7. Towards an understanding of British public attitudes concerning human cloning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shepherd, Richard; Barnett, Julie; Cooper, Helen; Coyle, Adrian; Moran-Ellis, Jo; Senior, Victoria; Walton, Chris

    2007-07-01

    The ability of scientists to apply cloning technology to humans has provoked public discussion and media coverage. The present paper reports on a series of studies examining public attitudes to human cloning in the UK, bringing together a range of quantitative and qualitative methods to address this question. These included a nationally representative survey, an experimental vignette study, focus groups and analyses of media coverage. Overall the research presents a complex picture of attitude to and constructions of human cloning. In all of the analyses, therapeutic cloning was viewed more favourably than reproductive cloning. However, while participants in the focus groups were generally negative about both forms of cloning, and this was also reflected in the media analyses, quantitative results showed more positive responses. In the quantitative research, therapeutic cloning was generally accepted when the benefits of such procedures were clear, and although reproductive cloning was less accepted there was still substantial support. Participants in the focus groups only differentiated between therapeutic and reproductive cloning after the issue of therapeutic cloning was explicitly raised; initially they saw cloning as being reproductive cloning and saw no real benefits. Attitudes were shown to be associated with underlying values associated with scientific progress rather than with age, gender or education, and although there were a few differences in the quantitative data based on religious affiliation, these tended to be small effects. Likewise in the focus groups there was little direct appeal to religion, but the main themes were 'interfering with nature' and the 'status of the embryo', with the latter being used more effectively to try to close down further discussion. In general there was a close correspondence between the media analysis and focus group responses, possibly demonstrating the importance of media as a resource, or that the media reflect

  8. Understanding the Vital Human Quest for Self-Esteem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Greenberg, Jeff

    2008-01-01

    Authors have long noted the human penchant for self-esteem. Experimental research has revealed that this desire for self-esteem has wide-ranging effects on cognition, emotion, and behavior. Terror management theory explains that this desire for self-esteem results from a fundamental need for psychological security, which is engendered by humans' awareness of their own vulnerability and mortality. A large body of evidence has supported this explanation. Specifically, substantial lines of research have shown that self-esteem buffers anxiety and reduces defenses against death and that reminders of mortality increase efforts to defend and bolster self-esteem. Complementary findings have helped clarify the role of culture in self-esteem striving and the ways in which people can vary in their level, stability, and sources of self-esteem. I conclude by briefly considering how this contemporary knowledge regarding the quest for self-esteem informs current events and daily life. © 2008 Association for Psychological Science.

  9. Understanding the Information Requirements of Arts and Humanities Scholarship

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Agiatis Benardou

    2010-07-01

    Full Text Available This paper reports on research of scholarly research practices and requirements conducted in the context of the Preparing DARIAH European e-Infrastructures project, with a view to ensuring current and future fitness for purpose of the planned digital infrastructure, services and tools. It summarises the findings of earlier research, primarily from the field of human information behaviour as applied in scholarly work, it presents a conceptual perspective informed by cultural-historical activity theory, it introduces briefly a formal conceptual model for scholarly research activity compliant with CIDOC CRM, it describes the plan of work and methodology of an empirical research project based on open-questionnaire interviews with arts and humanities researchers, and presents illustrative examples of segmentation, tagging and initial conceptual analysis of the empirical evidence. Finally, it presents plans for future work, consisting, firstly, of a comprehensive re-analysis of interview segments within the framework of the scholarly research activity model, and, secondly, of the integration of this analysis with the extended digital curation process model we presented in earlier work.

  10. Understanding human resource management practices in Botswana's public health sector.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seitio-Kgokgwe, Onalenna Stannie; Gauld, Robin; Hill, Philip C; Barnett, Pauline

    2016-11-21

    Purpose The purpose of this paper is to assess the management of the public sector health workforce in Botswana. Using institutional frameworks it aims to document and analyse human resource management (HRM) practices, and make recommendations to improve employee and health system outcomes. Design/methodology/approach The paper draws from a large study that used a mixed methods approach to assess performance of Botswana's Ministry of Health (MOH). It uses data collected through document analysis and in-depth interviews of 54 key informants comprising policy makers, senior staff of the MOH and its stakeholder organizations. Findings Public health sector HRM in Botswana has experienced inadequate planning, poor deployment and underutilization of staff. Lack of comprehensive retention strategies and poor working conditions contributed to the failure to attract and retain skilled personnel. Relationships with both formal and informal environments affected HRM performance. Research limitations/implications While document review was a major source of data for this paper, the weaknesses in the human resource information system limited availability of data. Practical implications This paper presents an argument for the need for consideration of formal and informal environments in developing effective HRM strategies. Originality/value This research provides a rare system-wide approach to health HRM in a Sub-Saharan African country. It contributes to the literature and evidence needed to guide HRM policy decisions and practices.

  11. Prions, From Structure to Epigenetics and Neuronal Functions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lindquist, Susan

    2012-02-01

    Prions are a unique type of protein that can misfold and convert other proteins to the same shape. The well-characterized yeast prion [PSI+] is formed from an inactive amyloid fiber conformation of the translation-termination factor, Sup35. This altered conformation is passed from mother cells to daughters, acting as a template to perpetuate the prion state and providing a mechanism of protein-based inheritance. We employed a variety of methods to determine the structure of Sup35 amyloid fibrils. First, using fluorescent tags and cross-linking we identified specific segments of the protein monomer that form intermolecular contacts in a ``Head-to-Head,'' ``Tail-to-Tail'' fashion while a central region forms intramolecular contacts. Then, using peptide arrays we mapped the region responsible for the prion transmission barrier between two different yeast species. We have also used optical tweezers to reveal that the non-covalent intermolecular contacts between monomers are unusually strong, and maintain fibril integrity even under forces that partially unfold individual monomers and extend fibril length. Based on the handful of known yeast prion proteins we predicted sequences that could be responsible for prion-like amyloid folding. Our screen identified 19 new candidate prions, whose protein-folding properties and diverse cellular functions we have characterized using a combination of genetic and biochemical techniques. Prion-driven phenotypic diversity increases under stress, and can be amplified by the dynamic maturation of prion-initiating states. These qualities allow prions to act as ``bet-hedging'' devices that facilitate the adaptation of yeast to stressful environments, and might speed the evolution of new traits. Together with Kandel and Si, we have also found that a regulatory protein that plays an important role in synaptic plasticity behaves as a prion in yeast. Cytoplasmic polyAdenylation element binding protein, CPEB, maintains synapses by promoting

  12. Insights into alternative prion protein topologies induced under high hydrostatic pressure

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Torrent, Joan; Alvarez-Martinez, Maria Teresa; Heitz, Frederic; Liautard, Jean-Pierre; Balny, Claude; Lange, Reinhard

    2004-01-01

    The critical step in the pathogenesis of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) appears to be a conformational transition of a normal prion protein (PrP C ) into a misfolded isoform (PrP Sc ). To gain insight into the structural conversion of the prion protein we have exploited the use of high hydrostatic pressure combined with various spectroscopic techniques. In vitro transitions of the recombinant PrP to a scrapie-like form have never resulted in an infectious structure. It is our hypothesis that the acquisition of the disease-causing conformation depends on folding pathways which are difficult to attain. We attempt to favour, via specific reaction conditions at high pressure, alternative routes of misfolding leading to a stable infectious amyloidogenic conformer. Our results have demonstrated the potential of high pressure to reveal various prion structural changes, which are inaccessible by conventional methods. Especially, we have characterized a pressure-induced conformer in which the normal α-helical structure is changed into a highly aggregated β-sheet conformation showing markedly increased resistance to proteolysis (key markers of potential infectious agents). Our work may have important implications, not only for ultimately proving the protein-only hypothesis and for understanding the basic mechanism of the disease, but also for developing preventative and therapeutic measures

  13. Insights into alternative prion protein topologies induced under high hydrostatic pressure

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Torrent, Joan [INSERM U128, IFR 122, 1919 Route de Mende, F-34293 Montpellier cedex 5 (France); Alvarez-Martinez, Maria Teresa [INSERM U431, IFR 122, Place Eugene Bataillon, F-34095 Montpellier cedex 5 (France); Heitz, Frederic [CRBM, CNRS-UPR 1086, IFR 122, 1919 Route de Mende, F-34293 Montpellier cedex 5 (France); Liautard, Jean-Pierre [INSERM U431, IFR 122, Place Eugene Bataillon, F-34095 Montpellier cedex 5 (France); Balny, Claude [INSERM U128, IFR 122, 1919 Route de Mende, F-34293 Montpellier cedex 5 (France); Lange, Reinhard [INSERM U128, IFR 122, 1919 Route de Mende, F-34293 Montpellier cedex 5 (France)

    2004-04-14

    The critical step in the pathogenesis of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) appears to be a conformational transition of a normal prion protein (PrP{sup C}) into a misfolded isoform (PrP{sup Sc}). To gain insight into the structural conversion of the prion protein we have exploited the use of high hydrostatic pressure combined with various spectroscopic techniques. In vitro transitions of the recombinant PrP to a scrapie-like form have never resulted in an infectious structure. It is our hypothesis that the acquisition of the disease-causing conformation depends on folding pathways which are difficult to attain. We attempt to favour, via specific reaction conditions at high pressure, alternative routes of misfolding leading to a stable infectious amyloidogenic conformer. Our results have demonstrated the potential of high pressure to reveal various prion structural changes, which are inaccessible by conventional methods. Especially, we have characterized a pressure-induced conformer in which the normal {alpha}-helical structure is changed into a highly aggregated {beta}-sheet conformation showing markedly increased resistance to proteolysis (key markers of potential infectious agents). Our work may have important implications, not only for ultimately proving the protein-only hypothesis and for understanding the basic mechanism of the disease, but also for developing preventative and therapeutic measures.

  14. Can animal models contribute to understanding tinnitus heterogeneity in humans?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jos J Eggermont

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available The brain activity of humans with tinnitus of various etiologies is typically studied with EEG/MEG and fMRI-based imaging techniques. Consequently, they measure population responses and mostly from the neocortex. The latter also underlies changes in neural networks that may be attributed to tinnitus. However, factors not strictly related to tinnitus such as hearing loss and hyperacusis, as well as other co-occurring disorders play a prominent role in these changes. Different types of tinnitus can often not be resolved with these brain-imaging techniques. In animal models of putative behavioral signs of tinnitus, neural activity ranging from auditory nerve to auditory cortex, is studied largely by single unit recordings, augmented by local field potentials (LFPs, and the neural correlates of tinnitus are mainly based on spontaneous neural activity, such as spontaneous firing rates (SFR and pair-wise spontaneous spike-firing correlations. Neural correlates of hyperacusis rely on measurement of stimulus-evoked activity and are measured as increased driven firing rates and LFP amplitudes. Connectivity studies would rely on correlated neural activity between pairs of neurons or LFP amplitudes, but are only recently explored. In animal models of tinnitus only two etiologies are extensively studied; tinnitus evoked by salicylate application and by noise exposure. It appears that they have quite different neural biomarkers. The unanswered question then is: does this different etiology also result in different tinnitus?

  15. Intraepithelial and interstitial deposition of pathological prion protein in kidneys of scrapie-affected sheep.

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    Ciriaco Ligios

    Full Text Available Prions have been documented in extra-neuronal and extra-lymphatic tissues of humans and various ruminants affected by Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE. The presence of prion infectivity detected in cervid and ovine blood tempted us to reason that kidney, the organ filtrating blood derived proteins, may accumulate disease associated PrP(Sc. We collected and screened kidneys of experimentally, naturally scrapie-affected and control sheep for renal deposition of PrP(Sc from distinct, geographically separated flocks. By performing Western blot, PET blot analysis and immunohistochemistry we found intraepithelial (cortex, medulla and papilla and occasional interstitial (papilla deposition of PrP(Sc in kidneys of scrapie-affected sheep. Interestingly, glomerula lacked detectable signals indicative of PrP(Sc. PrP(Sc was also detected in kidneys of subclinical sheep, but to significantly lower degree. Depending on the stage of the disease the incidence of PrP(Sc in kidney varied from approximately 27% (subclinical to 73.6% (clinical in naturally scrapie-affected sheep. Kidneys from flocks without scrapie outbreak were devoid of PrP(Sc. Here we demonstrate unexpectedly frequent deposition of high levels of PrP(Sc in ovine kidneys of various flocks. Renal deposition of PrP(Sc is likely to be a pre-requisite enabling prionuria, a possible co-factor of horizontal prion-transmission in sheep.

  16. Preclinical deposition of pathological prion protein in muscle of experimentally infected primates.

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    Susanne Krasemann

    Full Text Available Prion diseases are transmissible fatal neurodegenerative disorders affecting humans and animals. A central step in disease progression is the accumulation of a misfolded form (PrP(Sc of the host encoded prion protein (PrP(C in neuronal and non-neuronal tissues. The involvement of peripheral tissues in preclinical states increases the risk of accidental transmission. On the other hand, detection of PrP(Sc in non-neuronal easy-accessible compartments such as muscle may offer a novel diagnostic tool. Primate models have proven invaluable to investigate prion diseases. We have studied the deposition of PrP(Sc in muscle and central nervous system of rhesus monkeys challenged with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD, variant CJD (vCJD and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE in preclinical and clinical stage using biochemical and morphological methods. Here, we show the preclinical presence of PrP(Sc in muscle and central nervous system of rhesus monkeys experimentally infected with vCJD.

  17. Loss of Octarepeats in Two Processed Prion Pseudogenes in the Red Squirrel, Sciurus vulgaris

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kortum, Timothy T.; Hupkes, Marlinda; Kohlen, Wouter; van Rheede, Teun; de Jong, Wilfried W.

    2010-01-01

    The N-terminal region of the mammalian prion protein (PrP) contains an ‘octapeptide’ repeat which is involved in copper binding. This eight- or nine-residue peptide is repeated four to seven times, depending on the species, and polymorphisms in repeat number do occur. Alleles with three repeats are very rare in humans and goats, and deduced PrP sequences with two repeats have only been reported in two lemur species and in the red squirrel, Sciurus vulgaris. We here describe that the red squirrel two-repeat PrP sequence actually represents a retroposed pseudogene, and that an additional and older processed pseudogene with three repeats also occurs in this species as well as in ground squirrels. We argue that repeat numbers may tend to contract rather than expand in prion retropseudogenes, and that functional prion genes with two repeats may not be viable. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00239-010-9390-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users. PMID:20878152

  18. The ribosome-associated complex antagonizes prion formation in yeast.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amor, Alvaro J; Castanzo, Dominic T; Delany, Sean P; Selechnik, Daniel M; van Ooy, Alex; Cameron, Dale M

    2015-01-01

    The number of known fungal proteins capable of switching between alternative stable conformations is steadily increasing, suggesting that a prion-like mechanism may be broadly utilized as a means to propagate altered cellular states. To gain insight into the mechanisms by which cells regulate prion formation and toxicity we examined the role of the yeast ribosome-associated complex (RAC) in modulating both the formation of the [PSI(+)] prion - an alternative conformer of Sup35 protein - and the toxicity of aggregation-prone polypeptides. The Hsp40 RAC chaperone Zuo1 anchors the RAC to ribosomes and stimulates the ATPase activity of the Hsp70 chaperone Ssb. We found that cells lacking Zuo1 are sensitive to over-expression of some aggregation-prone proteins, including the Sup35 prion domain, suggesting that co-translational protein misfolding increases in Δzuo1 strains. Consistent with this finding, Δzuo1 cells exhibit higher frequencies of spontaneous and induced prion formation. Cells expressing mutant forms of Zuo1 lacking either a C-terminal charged region required for ribosome association, or the J-domain responsible for Ssb ATPase stimulation, exhibit similarly high frequencies of prion formation. Our findings are consistent with a role for the RAC in chaperoning nascent Sup35 to regulate folding of the N-terminal prion domain as it emerges from the ribosome.

  19. Physical, chemical and kinetic factors affecting prion infectivity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Properzi, Francesca; Badhan, Anjna; Klier, Steffi; Schmidt, Christian; Klöhn, Peter C; Wadsworth, Jonathan D F; Clarke, Anthony R; Jackson, Graham S; Collinge, John

    2016-05-03

    The mouse-adapted scrapie prion strain RML is one of the most widely used in prion research. The introduction of a cell culture-based assay of RML prions, the scrapie cell assay (SCA) allows more rapid and precise prion titration. A semi-automated version of this assay (ASCA) was applied to explore a range of conditions that might influence the infectivity and properties of RML prions. These include resistance to freeze-thaw procedures; stability to endogenous proteases in brain homogenate despite prolonged exposure to varying temperatures; distribution of infective material between pellet and supernatant after centrifugation, the effect of reducing agents and the influence of detergent additives on the efficiency of infection. Apparent infectivity is increased significantly by interaction with cationic detergents. Importantly, we have also elucidated the relationship between the duration of exposure of cells to RML prions and the transmission of infection. We established that the infection process following contact of cells with RML prions is rapid and followed an exponential time course, implying a single rate-limiting process.

  20. Mammalian prions: tolerance to sequence changes-how far?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salamat, Muhammad Khalid; Munoz-Montesino, Carola; Moudjou, Mohammed; Rezaei, Human; Laude, Hubert; Béringue, Vincent; Dron, Michel

    2013-01-01

    Upon prion infection, abnormal prion protein (PrP (Sc) ) self-perpetuate by conformational conversion of α-helix-rich PrP (C) into β sheet enriched form, leading to formation and deposition of PrP (Sc) aggregates in affected brains. However the process remains poorly understood at the molecular level and the regions of PrP critical for conversion are still debated. Minimal amino acid substitutions can impair prion replication at many places in PrP. Conversely, we recently showed that bona fide prions could be generated after introduction of eight and up to 16 additional amino acids in the H2-H3 inter-helix loop of PrP. Prion replication also accommodated the insertions of an octapeptide at different places in the last turns of H2. This reverse genetic approach reveals an unexpected tolerance of prions to substantial sequence changes in the protease-resistant part which is associated with infectivity. It also demonstrates that conversion does not require the presence of a specific sequence in the middle of the H2-H3 area. We discuss the implications of our findings according to different structural models proposed for PrP (Sc) and questioned the postulated existence of an N- or C-terminal prion domain in the protease-resistant region.

  1. Cleaning, disinfection and sterilization of surface prion contamination.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McDonnell, G; Dehen, C; Perrin, A; Thomas, V; Igel-Egalon, A; Burke, P A; Deslys, J P; Comoy, E

    2013-12-01

    Prion contamination is a risk during device reprocessing, being difficult to remove and inactivate. Little is known of the combined effects of cleaning, disinfection and sterilization during a typical reprocessing cycle in clinical practice. To investigate the combination of cleaning, disinfection and/or sterilization on reducing the risk of surface prion contamination. In vivo test methods were used to study the impact of cleaning alone and cleaning combined with thermal disinfection and high- or low-temperature sterilization processes. A standardized test method, based on contamination of stainless steel wires with high titres of scrapie-infected brain homogenates, was used to determine infectivity reduction. Traditional chemical methods of surface decontamination against prions were confirmed to be effective, but extended steam sterilization was more variable. Steam sterilization alone reduced the risk of prion contamination under normal or extended exposure conditions, but did show significant variation. Thermal disinfection had no impact in these studies. Cleaning with certain defined formulations in combination with steam sterilization can be an effective prion decontamination process, in particular with alkaline formulations. Low-temperature, gaseous hydrogen peroxide sterilization was also confirmed to reduce infectivity in the presence and absence of cleaning. Prion decontamination is affected by the full reprocessing cycle used on contaminated surfaces. The correct use of defined cleaning, disinfection and sterilization methods as tested in this report in the scrapie infectivity assay can provide a standard precaution against prion contamination. Copyright © 2013 The Healthcare Infection Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. Aerosols transmit prions to immunocompetent and immunodeficient mice.

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    Johannes Haybaeck

    Full Text Available Prions, the agents causing transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, colonize the brain of hosts after oral, parenteral, intralingual, or even transdermal uptake. However, prions are not generally considered to be airborne. Here we report that inbred and crossbred wild-type mice, as well as tga20 transgenic mice overexpressing PrP(C, efficiently develop scrapie upon exposure to aerosolized prions. NSE-PrP transgenic mice, which express PrP(C selectively in neurons, were also susceptible to airborne prions. Aerogenic infection occurred also in mice lacking B- and T-lymphocytes, NK-cells, follicular dendritic cells or complement components. Brains of diseased mice contained PrP(Sc and transmitted scrapie when inoculated into further mice. We conclude that aerogenic exposure to prions is very efficacious and can lead to direct invasion of neural pathways without an obligatory replicative phase in lymphoid organs. This previously unappreciated risk for airborne prion transmission may warrant re-thinking on prion biosafety guidelines in research and diagnostic laboratories.

  3. Domain-Specific Activation of Death-Associated Intracellular Signalling Cascades by the Cellular Prion Protein in Neuroblastoma Cells.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vilches, Silvia; Vergara, Cristina; Nicolás, Oriol; Mata, Ágata; Del Río, José A; Gavín, Rosalina

    2016-09-01

    The biological functions of the cellular prion protein remain poorly understood. In fact, numerous studies have aimed to determine specific functions for the different protein domains. Studies of cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) domains through in vivo expression of molecules carrying internal deletions in a mouse Prnp null background have provided helpful data on the implication of the protein in signalling cascades in affected neurons. Nevertheless, understanding of the mechanisms underlying the neurotoxicity induced by these PrP(C) deleted forms is far from complete. To better define the neurotoxic or neuroprotective potential of PrP(C) N-terminal domains, and to overcome the heterogeneity of results due to the lack of a standardized model, we used neuroblastoma cells to analyse the effects of overexpressing PrP(C) deleted forms. Results indicate that PrP(C) N-terminal deleted forms were properly processed through the secretory pathway. However, PrPΔF35 and PrPΔCD mutants led to death by different mechanisms sharing loss of alpha-cleavage and activation of caspase-3. Our data suggest that both gain-of-function and loss-of-function pathogenic mechanisms may be associated with N-terminal domains and may therefore contribute to neurotoxicity in prion disease. Dissecting the molecular response induced by PrPΔF35 may be the key to unravelling the physiological and pathological functions of the prion protein.

  4. Relationship between magnetism and prion protein

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    F. Balzano

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available The mechanism of conversion of the normal prion protein (PrPC into aggregates of its pathological conformer (PrPSc reamins unclear. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects induced by exposure of biological samples containing PrPSC to a magnetic field induced prominent molecular changes of samples indicated by the IR spectra located in the region that contains contribution primarily from absorption of amides. This finding suggests the existence of a strong correlation between magnetism and PrPsc and supports a new hypothesis that explains the conversion of normal PrPc to abnormal isoform PrPsc.

  5. Protease-resistant prions selectively decrease Shadoo protein.

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    Joel C Watts

    2011-11-01

    Full Text Available The central event in prion diseases is the conformational conversion of the cellular prion protein (PrP(C into PrP(Sc, a partially protease-resistant and infectious conformer. However, the mechanism by which PrP(Sc causes neuronal dysfunction remains poorly understood. Levels of Shadoo (Sho, a protein that resembles the flexibly disordered N-terminal domain of PrP(C, were found to be reduced in the brains of mice infected with the RML strain of prions [1], implying that Sho levels may reflect the presence of PrP(Sc in the brain. To test this hypothesis, we examined levels of Sho during prion infection using a variety of experimental systems. Sho protein levels were decreased in the brains of mice, hamsters, voles, and sheep infected with different natural and experimental prion strains. Furthermore, Sho levels were decreased in the brains of prion-infected, transgenic mice overexpressing Sho and in infected neuroblastoma cells. Time-course experiments revealed that Sho levels were inversely proportional to levels of protease-resistant PrP(Sc. Membrane anchoring and the N-terminal domain of PrP both influenced the inverse relationship between Sho and PrP(Sc. Although increased Sho levels had no discernible effect on prion replication in mice, we conclude that Sho is the first non-PrP marker specific for prion disease. Additional studies using this paradigm may provide insight into the cellular pathways and systems subverted by PrP(Sc during prion disease.

  6. Research on operation and maintenance support system adaptive to human recognition and understanding in human-centered plant

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Numano, Masayoshi; Matsuoka, Takeshi; Mitomo, N.

    2004-01-01

    As a human-centered plant, advanced nuclear power plant needs appropriate role sharing between human and mobile intelligent agents. Human-machine cooperation for plant operation and maintenance activities is also required with an advanced interface. Plant's maintenance is programmed using mobile robots working under the radiation environments instead of human beings. Operation and maintenance support system adaptive to human recognition and understanding should be developed to establish adequate human and machine interface so as to induce human capabilities to the full and enable human to take responsibility for plan's operation. Plant's operation and maintenance can be cooperative activities between human and intelligent automonous agents having surveillance and control functions. Infrastructure of multi-agent simulation system for the support system has been investigated and developed based on work plans derived from the scheduler. (T. Tanaka)

  7. Emerging prion disease drives host selection in a wildlife population

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robinson, Stacie J.; Samuel, Michael D.; Johnson, Chad J.; Adams, Marie; McKenzie, Debbie I.

    2012-01-01

    Infectious diseases are increasingly recognized as an important force driving population dynamics, conservation biology, and natural selection in wildlife populations. Infectious agents have been implicated in the decline of small or endangered populations and may act to constrain population size, distribution, growth rates, or migration patterns. Further, diseases may provide selective pressures that shape the genetic diversity of populations or species. Thus, understanding disease dynamics and selective pressures from pathogens is crucial to understanding population processes, managing wildlife diseases, and conserving biological diversity. There is ample evidence that variation in the prion protein gene (PRNP) impacts host susceptibility to prion diseases. Still, little is known about how genetic differences might influence natural selection within wildlife populations. Here we link genetic variation with differential susceptibility of white-tailed deer to chronic wasting disease (CWD), with implications for fitness and disease-driven genetic selection. We developed a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) assay to efficiently genotype deer at the locus of interest (in the 96th codon of the PRNP gene). Then, using a Bayesian modeling approach, we found that the more susceptible genotype had over four times greater risk of CWD infection; and, once infected, deer with the resistant genotype survived 49% longer (8.25 more months). We used these epidemiological parameters in a multi-stage population matrix model to evaluate relative fitness based on genotype-specific population growth rates. The differences in disease infection and mortality rates allowed genetically resistant deer to achieve higher population growth and obtain a long-term fitness advantage, which translated into a selection coefficient of over 1% favoring the CWD-resistant genotype. This selective pressure suggests that the resistant allele could become dominant in the population within an

  8. Expansion of the octarepeat domain alters the misfolding pathway but not the folding pathway of the prion protein.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leliveld, S Rutger; Stitz, Lothar; Korth, Carsten

    2008-06-10

    A misfolded conformation of the prion protein (PrP), PrP (Sc), is the essential component of prions, the infectious agents that cause transmissible neurodegenerative diseases. Insertional mutations that lead to an increase in the number of octarepeats (ORs) in PrP are linked to familial human prion disease. In this study, we investigated how expansion of the OR domain causes PrP to favor a prion-like conformation. Therefore, we compared the conformational and aggregation modulating properties of wild-type versus expanded OR domains, either as a fusion construct with the protein G B1 domain (GB1-OR) or as an integral part of full-length mouse PrP (MoPrP). Using circular dichroism spectroscopy, we first demonstrated that ORs are not unfolded but exist as an ensemble of three distinct conformers: polyproline helix-like, beta-turn, and "Trp-related". Domain expansion had little effect on the conformation of GB1-OR fusion proteins. When part of MoPrP however, OR domain expansion changed PrP's folding landscape, not by hampering the production of native alpha-helical monomers but by greatly reducing the propensity to form amyloid and by altering the assembly of misfolded, beta-rich aggregates. These features may relate to subtle pH-dependent conformational differences between wild-type and mutant monomers. In conclusion, we propose that PrP insertional mutations are pathogenic because they enhance specific misfolding pathways of PrP rather than by undermining native folding. This idea was supported by a trial bioassay in transgenic mice overexpressing wild-type MoPrP, where intracerebral injection of recombinant MoPrP with an expanded OR domain but not wild-type MoPrP caused prion disease.

  9. Diagnostic approaches for viruses and prions in stem cell banks

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cobo, Fernando; Talavera, Paloma; Concha, Angel

    2006-01-01

    Some stem cell lines may contain an endogenous virus or can be contaminated with exogenous viruses (even of animal origin) and may secrete viral particles or express viral antigens on their surface. Moreover, certain biotechnological products (e.g. bovine fetal serum, murine feeder cells) may contain prion particles. Viral and prion contamination of cell cultures and 'feeder' cells, which is a common risk in all biotechnological products derived from the cell lines, is the most challenging and potentially serious outcome to address, due to the difficulty involved in virus and prion detection and the potential to cause serious disease in recipients of these cell products. Stem cell banks should introduce adequate quality assurance programs like the microbiological control program and can provide researchers with valuable support in the standardization and safety of procedures and protocols used for the viral and prion testing and in validation programs to assure the quality and safety of the cells

  10. Putting prions into focus: application of single molecule detection to the diagnosis of prion diseases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giese, A; Bieschke, J; Eigen, M; Kretzschmar, H A

    2000-01-01

    Prion diseases are characterized by the cerebral deposition of an aggregated pathological isoform of the prion protein (PrP(Sc)) which constitutes the principal component of the transmissible agent termed prion. In order to develop a highly sensitive method for the detection of PrP(Sc) aggregates in biological samples such as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), we used a method based on Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy (FCS), a technique which allows detection of single fluorescently labeled molecules in solution. Within the FCS setup, fluorescent photons emitted by molecules passing an open volume element defined by the beam of an excitation laser focussed into a diffraction-limited spot are imaged confocally onto a single photon counting detector. Aggregates of PrP(Sc) could be labeled by co-aggregation of probe molecules such as monomeric recombinant PrP or PrP-specific antibodies tagged with a fluorescent dye. In addition to slow diffusion, labeled aggregates are characterized by high fluorescence intensity, which allows detection and quantification by analysis of fluorescence intensity distribution. To improve detection of rare target particles, the accessible volume element was increased by scanning for intensely fluorescent targets (SIFT). To further improve sensitivity and specificity, two different probes were used simultaneously in a two-color setup. In a diagnostic model system of CSF spiked with purified prion rods, dual-color SIFT was more sensitive than Western blot analysis. In addition, a PrP(Sc)-specific signal was also detected in a number of CSF samples derived from CJD patients but not in controls.

  11. Prions amplify through degradation of the VPS10P sorting receptor sortilin.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Uchiyama, Keiji; Tomita, Mitsuru; Yano, Masashi; Chida, Junji; Hara, Hideyuki; Das, Nandita Rani; Nykjaer, Anders; Sakaguchi, Suehiro

    2017-06-01

    Prion diseases are a group of fatal neurodegenerative disorders caused by prions, which consist mainly of the abnormally folded isoform of prion protein, PrPSc. A pivotal pathogenic event in prion disease is progressive accumulation of prions, or PrPSc, in brains through constitutive conformational conversion of the cellular prion protein, PrPC, into PrPSc. However, the cellular mechanism by which PrPSc is progressively accumulated in prion-infected neurons remains unknown. Here, we show that PrPSc is progressively accumulated in prion-infected cells through degradation of the VPS10P sorting receptor sortilin. We first show that sortilin interacts with PrPC and PrPSc and sorts them to lysosomes for degradation. Consistently, sortilin-knockdown increased PrPSc accumulation in prion-infected cells. In contrast, overexpression of sortilin reduced PrPSc accumulation in prion-infected cells. These results indicate that sortilin negatively regulates PrPSc accumulation in prion-infected cells. The negative role of sortilin in PrPSc accumulation was further confirmed in sortilin-knockout mice infected with prions. The infected mice had accelerated prion disease with early accumulation of PrPSc in their brains. Interestingly, sortilin was reduced in prion-infected cells and mouse brains. Treatment of prion-infected cells with lysosomal inhibitors, but not proteasomal inhibitors, increased the levels of sortilin. Moreover, sortilin was reduced following PrPSc becoming detectable in cells after infection with prions. These results indicate that PrPSc accumulation stimulates sortilin degradation in lysosomes. Taken together, these results show that PrPSc accumulation of itself could impair the sortilin-mediated sorting of PrPC and PrPSc to lysosomes for degradation by stimulating lysosomal degradation of sortilin, eventually leading to progressive accumulation of PrPSc in prion-infected cells.

  12. Educational Cooperation between Thailand and Cambodia: Outcomes on Human Development, International Understanding and Future Prospect

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kijtorntham, Wichuda; Ruangdej, Phumjit; Saisuwan, Chatchanog

    2015-01-01

    Thailand and Cambodia set up educational cooperation since 1996, before signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Promotion of Education in 2003. This research aimed to investigate outcomes of educational cooperation projects on Cambodia human development and international understanding, process of participatory learning and…

  13. A Neuronal Culture System to Detect Prion Synaptotoxicity.

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    Cheng Fang

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available Synaptic pathology is an early feature of prion as well as other neurodegenerative diseases. Although the self-templating process by which prions propagate is well established, the mechanisms by which prions cause synaptotoxicity are poorly understood, due largely to the absence of experimentally tractable cell culture models. Here, we report that exposure of cultured hippocampal neurons to PrPSc, the infectious isoform of the prion protein, results in rapid retraction of dendritic spines. This effect is entirely dependent on expression of the cellular prion protein, PrPC, by target neurons, and on the presence of a nine-amino acid, polybasic region at the N-terminus of the PrPC molecule. Both protease-resistant and protease-sensitive forms of PrPSc cause dendritic loss. This system provides new insights into the mechanisms responsible for prion neurotoxicity, and it provides a platform for characterizing different pathogenic forms of PrPSc and testing potential therapeutic agents.

  14. Yeast prions form infectious amyloid inclusion bodies in bacteria

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    Espargaró Alba

    2012-06-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Prions were first identified as infectious proteins associated with fatal brain diseases in mammals. However, fungal prions behave as epigenetic regulators that can alter a range of cellular processes. These proteins propagate as self-perpetuating amyloid aggregates being an example of structural inheritance. The best-characterized examples are the Sup35 and Ure2 yeast proteins, corresponding to [PSI+] and [URE3] phenotypes, respectively. Results Here we show that both the prion domain of Sup35 (Sup35-NM and the Ure2 protein (Ure2p form inclusion bodies (IBs displaying amyloid-like properties when expressed in bacteria. These intracellular aggregates template the conformational change and promote the aggregation of homologous, but not heterologous, soluble prionogenic molecules. Moreover, in the case of Sup35-NM, purified IBs are able to induce different [PSI+] phenotypes in yeast, indicating that at least a fraction of the protein embedded in these deposits adopts an infectious prion fold. Conclusions An important feature of prion inheritance is the existence of strains, which are phenotypic variants encoded by different conformations of the same polypeptide. We show here that the proportion of infected yeast cells displaying strong and weak [PSI+] phenotypes depends on the conditions under which the prionogenic aggregates are formed in E. coli, suggesting that bacterial systems might become useful tools to generate prion strain diversity.

  15. Enzymatic Digestion of Chronic Wasting Disease Prions Bound to Soil

    Science.gov (United States)

    SAUNDERS, SAMUEL E.; BARTZ, JASON C.; VERCAUTEREN, KURT C.; BARTELT-HUNT, SHANNON L.

    2010-01-01

    Chronic wasting disease (CWD) and sheep scrapie can be transmitted via indirect environmental routes, and it is known that soil can serve as a reservoir of prion infectivity. Given the strong interaction between the prion protein (PrP) and soil, we hypothesized that binding to soil enhances prion resistance to enzymatic digestion, thereby facilitating prion longevity in the environment and providing protection from host degradation. We characterized the performance of a commercially available subtilisin enzyme, the Prionzyme, to degrade soil-bound and unbound CWD and HY TME PrP as a function of pH, temperature, and treatment time. The subtilisin enzyme effectively degraded PrP adsorbed to a wide range of soils and soil minerals below the limits of detection. Signal loss occurred rapidly at high pH (12.5) and within 7 d under conditions representative of the natural environment (pH 7.4, 22°C). We observed no apparent difference in enzyme effectiveness between bound and unbound CWD PrP. Our results show that although adsorbed prions do retain relative resistance to enzymatic digestion compared with other brain homogenate proteins, they can be effectively degraded when bound to soil. Our results also suggest a topical application of a subtilisin enzyme solution may be an effective decontamination method to limit disease transmission via environmental ‘hot spots’ of prion infectivity. PMID:20450190

  16. Low copper and high manganese levels in prion protein plaques

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Christopher J.; Gilbert, P.U.P.A.; Abrecth, Mike; Baldwin, Katherine L.; Russell, Robin E.; Pedersen, Joel A.; McKenzie, Debbie

    2013-01-01

    Accumulation of aggregates rich in an abnormally folded form of the prion protein characterize the neurodegeneration caused by transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). The molecular triggers of plaque formation and neurodegeneration remain unknown, but analyses of TSE-infected brain homogenates and preparations enriched for abnormal prion protein suggest that reduced levels of copper and increased levels of manganese are associated with disease. The objectives of this study were to: (1) assess copper and manganese levels in healthy and TSE-infected Syrian hamster brain homogenates; (2) determine if the distribution of these metals can be mapped in TSE-infected brain tissue using X-ray photoelectron emission microscopy (X-PEEM) with synchrotron radiation; and (3) use X-PEEM to assess the relative amounts of copper and manganese in prion plaques in situ. In agreement with studies of other TSEs and species, we found reduced brain levels of copper and increased levels of manganese associated with disease in our hamster model. We also found that the in situ levels of these metals in brainstem were sufficient to image by X-PEEM. Using immunolabeled prion plaques in directly adjacent tissue sections to identify regions to image by X-PEEM, we found a statistically significant relationship of copper-manganese dysregulation in prion plaques: copper was depleted whereas manganese was enriched. These data provide evidence for prion plaques altering local transition metal distribution in the TSE-infected central nervous system.

  17. Reduction of prion infectivity in packed red blood cells

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Morales, Rodrigo; Buytaert-Hoefen, Kimberley A.; Gonzalez-Romero, Dennisse; Castilla, Joaquin; Hansen, Eric T.; Hlavinka, Dennis; Goodrich, Raymond P.; Soto, Claudio

    2008-01-01

    The link between a new variant form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) and the consumption of prion contaminated cattle meat as well as recent findings showing that vCJD can be transmitted by blood transfusion have raised public health concerns. Currently, a reliable test to identify prions in blood samples is not available. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the possibility to remove scrapie prion protein (PrP Sc ) and infectivity from red blood cell (RBC) suspensions by a simple washing procedure using a cell separation and washing device. The extent of prion removal was assessed by Western blot, PMCA and infectivity bioassays. Our results revealed a substantial removal of infectious prions (≥3 logs of infectivity) by all techniques used. These data suggest that a significant amount of infectivity present in RBC preparations can be removed by a simple washing procedure. This technology may lead to increased safety of blood products and reduce the risk of further propagation of prion diseases.

  18. Synthetic prions with novel strain-specified properties.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moda, Fabio; Le, Thanh-Nhat T; Aulić, Suzana; Bistaffa, Edoardo; Campagnani, Ilaria; Virgilio, Tommaso; Indaco, Antonio; Palamara, Luisa; Andréoletti, Olivier; Tagliavini, Fabrizio; Legname, Giuseppe

    2015-12-01

    Prions are infectious proteins that possess multiple self-propagating structures. The information for strains and structural specific barriers appears to be contained exclusively in the folding of the pathological isoform, PrP(Sc). Many recent studies determined that de novo prion strains could be generated in vitro from the structural conversion of recombinant (rec) prion protein (PrP) into amyloidal structures. Our aim was to elucidate the conformational diversity of pathological recPrP amyloids and their biological activities, as well as to gain novel insights in characterizing molecular events involved in mammalian prion conversion and propagation. To this end we generated infectious materials that possess different conformational structures. Our methodology for the prion conversion of recPrP required only purified rec full-length mouse (Mo) PrP and common chemicals. Neither infected brain extracts nor amplified PrP(Sc) were used. Following two different in vitro protocols recMoPrP converted to amyloid fibrils without any seeding factor. Mouse hypothalamic GT1 and neuroblastoma N2a cell lines were infected with these amyloid preparations as fast screening methodology to characterize the infectious materials. Remarkably, a large number of amyloid preparations were able to induce the conformational change of endogenous PrPC to harbor several distinctive proteinase-resistant PrP forms. One such preparation was characterized in vivo habouring a synthetic prion with novel strain specified neuropathological and biochemical properties.

  19. Disparate modes of evolution shaped modern prion (PRNP) and prion-related doppel (PRND) variation in domestic cattle

    Science.gov (United States)

    Previous investigations aimed at determining whether the mammalian prion protein actually facilitates tangible molecular aspects of either a discrete or pleiotropic functional niche have been debated, especially given the apparent absence of overt behavioral or physiological phenotypes associated wi...

  20. Motion Segments Decomposition of RGB-D Sequences for Human Behavior Understanding

    OpenAIRE

    Devanne , Maxime; Berretti , Stefano; Pala , Pietro; Wannous , Hazem; Daoudi , Mohamed; Bimbo , Alberto ,

    2017-01-01

    International audience; In this paper, we propose a framework for analyzing and understanding human behavior from depth videos. The proposed solution first employs shape analysis of the human pose across time to decompose the full motion into short temporal segments representing elementary motions. Then, each segment is characterized by human motion and depth appearance around hand joints to describe the change in pose of the body and the interaction with objects. Finally , the sequence of te...

  1. Increased expression of p62/SQSTM1 in prion diseases and its association with pathogenic prion protein.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Homma, Takujiro; Ishibashi, Daisuke; Nakagaki, Takehiro; Satoh, Katsuya; Sano, Kazunori; Atarashi, Ryuichiro; Nishida, Noriyuki

    2014-03-28

    Prion diseases are neurodegenerative disorders characterized by the aggregation of abnormally folded prion protein (PrP(Sc)). In this study, we focused on the mechanism of clearance of PrP(Sc), which remains unclear. p62 is a cytosolic protein known to mediate both the formation and degradation of aggregates of abnormal proteins. The levels of p62 protein increased in prion-infected brains and persistently infected cell cultures. Upon proteasome inhibition, p62 co-localized with PrP(Sc), forming a large aggregate in the perinuclear region, hereafter referred to as PrP(Sc)-aggresome. These aggregates were surrounded with autophagosome marker LC3 and lysosomes in prion-infected cells. Moreover, transient expression of the phosphomimic form of p62, which has enhanced ubiquitin-binding activity, reduced the amount of PrP(Sc) in prion-infected cells, indicating that the activation of p62 could accelerate the clearance of PrP(Sc). Our findings would thus suggest that p62 could be a target for the therapeutic control of prion diseases.

  2. Modelling Engagement in Multi-Party Conversations : Data-Driven Approaches to Understanding Human-Human Communication Patterns for Use in Human-Robot Interactions

    OpenAIRE

    Oertel, Catharine

    2016-01-01

    The aim of this thesis is to study human-human interaction in order to provide virtual agents and robots with the capability to engage into multi-party-conversations in a human-like-manner. The focus lies with the modelling of conversational dynamics and the appropriate realization of multi-modal feedback behaviour. For such an undertaking, it is important to understand how human-human communication unfolds in varying contexts and constellations over time. To this end, multi-modal human-human...

  3. Encefalopatía por priones

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carlos Colegial

    1999-01-01

    Full Text Available Las encefalopatías espongiformes por priones son enfermedades neurodegenerativas que pueden ser esporádicas o transmisibles, ya sea por mecanismos infecciosos o hereditarios. Su investigación ha planteado enormes retos y en el recorrido histórico en busca de su causa dos médicos han recibido el premio Nobel de Medicina: Carleton Gajdusek, por sus trabajos en Nueva Guinea donde describió la transmisión infecciosa por ritos canibalísticos, que llevó a estudios de transmisión experimental en chimpancés y a su teoría de los "virus lentos" (por el largo período de incubación de la enfermedad.

  4. Elucidation of Prion Protein Conformational Changes Associated with Infectivity by Fluorescence Spectroscopy

    Science.gov (United States)

    2007-06-01

    is not known. Obtaining structural information on the misfolded isoform of prion may lead to preventative therapies and treatments of prion diseases...the misfolded prion isoform may allow for the development of drug therapies or early detection systems for prion diseases, or illuminate mechanistic...showing fluorescence intensity as a function of time and energy for 2,6-p-toluidinonapththalene adsorbed to egg L-α- lecithin vesicles. The steady

  5. Understanding Older Adult's Perceptions of Factors that Support Trust in Human and Robot Care Providers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stuck, Rachel E; Rogers, Wendy A

    2017-06-01

    As the population of older adults increase so will the need for care providers, both human and robot. Trust is a key aspect to establish and maintain a successful older adult-care provider relationship. However, due to trust volatility it is essential to understand it within specific contexts. This proposed mixed methods study will explore what dimensions of trust emerge as important within the human-human and human-robot dyads in older adults and care providers. First, this study will help identify key qualities that support trust in a care provider relationship. By understanding what older adults perceive as needing to trust humans and robots for various care tasks, we can begin to provide recommendations based on user expectations for design to support trust.

  6. What Does It Mean to Understand Human Rights as Essentially ‘Triggers for Intervention’?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hawre Hasan Hama

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available Traditional theories of human rights regard human rights to be equivalent to universal moral rights. They also claim that human rights are justified by an appeal to some valuable aspect of human nature. These approaches, however, have been strongly challenged by the political theory of human rights. The latter derived from John Rawls’s conception of human rights in his famous work, Law of Peoples, argues that human rights are not equivalent to our universal moral rights, but are a subset of those rights: they are those rights that once violated lead to an erosion of state sovereignty, thus acting as ‘triggers for intervention’. This article mainly discusses the political conception of human rights to explain this question; what does it mean to understand human rights in the ways that their violations lead to intervention? Furthermore, the article strongly argues that such understanding of human rights is neither accurate nor helpful for reasons that will be mentioned in chapter two.

  7. Ubiquitin Ligase gp78 Targets Unglycosylated Prion Protein PrP for Ubiquitylation and Degradation

    OpenAIRE

    Shao, Jia; Choe, Vitnary; Cheng, Haili; Tsai, Yien Che; Weissman, Allan M.; Luo, Shiwen; Rao, Hai

    2014-01-01

    Prion protein PrP is a central player in several devastating neurodegenerative disorders, including mad cow disease and Creutzfeltd-Jacob disease. Conformational alteration of PrP into an aggregation-prone infectious form PrPSc can trigger pathogenic events. How levels of PrP are regulated is poorly understood. Human PrP is known to be degraded by the proteasome, but the specific proteolytic pathway responsible for PrP destruction remains elusive. Here, we demonstrate that the ubiquitin ligas...

  8. A review of human factors challenges of complex adaptive systems: discovering and understanding chaos in human performance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karwowski, Waldemar

    2012-12-01

    In this paper, the author explores a need for a greater understanding of the true nature of human-system interactions from the perspective of the theory of complex adaptive systems, including the essence of complexity, emergent properties of system behavior, nonlinear systems dynamics, and deterministic chaos. Human performance, more often than not, constitutes complex adaptive phenomena with emergent properties that exhibit nonlinear dynamical (chaotic) behaviors. The complexity challenges in the design and management of contemporary work systems, including service systems, are explored. Examples of selected applications of the concepts of nonlinear dynamics to the study of human physical performance are provided. Understanding and applications of the concepts of theory of complex adaptive and dynamical systems should significantly improve the effectiveness of human-centered design efforts of a large system of systems. Performance of many contemporary work systems and environments may be sensitive to the initial conditions and may exhibit dynamic nonlinear properties and chaotic system behaviors. Human-centered design of emergent human-system interactions requires application of the theories of nonlinear dynamics and complex adaptive system. The success of future human-systems integration efforts requires the fusion of paradigms, knowledge, design principles, and methodologies of human factors and ergonomics with those of the science of complex adaptive systems as well as modern systems engineering.

  9. Mapping of possible prion protein self interaction domains using peptide arrays

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rigter, A.; Langeveld, J.P.M.; Timmers-Parohi, D.; Jacobs, J.G.; Moonen, P.L.J.M.; Bossers, A.

    2007-01-01

    Background The common event in transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases is the conversion of host-encoded protease sensitive cellular prion protein (PrPC) into strain dependent isoforms of scrapie associated protease resistant isoform (PrPSc) of prion protein (PrP). These

  10. Prion protein amyloidosis with divergent phenotype associated with two novel nonsense mutations in PRNP

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Jansen, Casper; Parchi, Piero; Capellari, Sabina; Vermeij, Ad J.; Corrado, Patrizia; Baas, Frank; Strammiello, Rosaria; van Gool, Willem A.; van Swieten, John C.; Rozemuller, Annemieke J. M.

    2010-01-01

    Stop codon mutations in the gene encoding the prion protein (PRNP) are very rare and have thus far only been described in two patients with prion protein cerebral amyloid angiopathy (PrP-CAA). In this report, we describe the clinical, histopathological and pathological prion protein (PrPSc)

  11. Using small molecule reagents to help distinguish among prion structural models

    Science.gov (United States)

    The only demonstrated difference between infectious prions (PrPSc) and the isosequential normal cellular prion protein (PrPC) is conformation. The structure of PrPC has been determined by a variety of instrumental techniques. The structure of prions remains uncertain. Recent instrumental analysis h...

  12. 3D local structure around copper site of rabbit prion-related protein: Quantitative determination by XANES spectroscopy combined with multiple-scattering calculations

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cui, P.X.; Lian, F.L.; Wang, Y.; Wen, Yi; Chu, W.S.; Zhao, H.F.; Zhang, S.; Li, J.; Lin, D.H.; Wu, Z.Y.

    2014-01-01

    Prion-related protein (PrP), a cell-surface copper-binding glycoprotein, is considered to be responsible for a number of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). The structural conversion of PrP from the normal cellular isoform (PrP C ) to the post-translationally modified form (PrP Sc ) is thought to be relevant to Cu 2+ binding to histidine residues. Rabbits are one of the few mammalian species that appear to be resistant to TSEs, because of the structural characteristics of the rabbit prion protein (RaPrP C ) itself. Here we determined the three-dimensional local structure around the C-terminal high-affinity copper-binding sites using X-ray absorption near-edge structure combined with ab initio calculations in the framework of the multiple-scattering (MS) theory. Result shows that two amino acid resides, Gln97 and Met108, and two histidine residues, His95 and His110, are involved in binding this copper(II) ion. It might help us understand the roles of copper in prion conformation conversions, and the molecular mechanisms of prion-involved diseases. - Highlights: ► The first structure of the metal ion binding site in RaPrP fifth copper-binding site. ► Quantitative determination by XANES spectroscopy combined with ab initio calculations. ► Provide a proof of the roles of copper in prion conformation conversions. ► Provide a proof of the molecular mechanisms of prion-involved diseases

  13. Combined copper/zinc attachment to prion protein

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hodak, Miroslav; Bernholc, Jerry

    2013-03-01

    Misfolding of prion protein (PrP) is responsible for diseases such as ``mad-cow disease'' in cattle and Creutzfeldt-Jacob in humans. Extensive experimental investigation has established that this protein strongly interacts with copper ions, and this ability has been linked to its still unknown function. Attachment of other metal ions (zinc, iron, manganese) have been demonstrated as well, but none of them could outcompete copper. Recent finding, however, indicates that at intermediate concentrations both copper and zinc ions can attach to the PrP at the octarepeat region, which contains high affinity metal binding sites. Based on this evidence, we have performed density functional theory simulations to investigate the combined Cu/Zn attachment. We consider all previously reported binding modes of copper at the octarepeat region and examine a possibility simultaneous Cu/Zn attachment. We find that this can indeed occur for only one of the known binding sites, when copper changes its coordination mode to allow for attachment of zinc ion. The implications of the simultaneous attachment on neural function remain to be explored.

  14. Prion protein modulates glucose homeostasis by altering intracellular iron.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ashok, Ajay; Singh, Neena

    2018-04-26

    The prion protein (PrP C ), a mainly neuronal protein, is known to modulate glucose homeostasis in mouse models. We explored the underlying mechanism in mouse models and the human pancreatic β-cell line 1.1B4. We report expression of PrP C on mouse pancreatic β-cells, where it promoted uptake of iron through divalent-metal-transporters. Accordingly, pancreatic iron stores in PrP knockout mice (PrP -/- ) were significantly lower than wild type (PrP +/+ ) controls. Silencing of PrP C in 1.1B4 cells resulted in significant depletion of intracellular (IC) iron, and remarkably, upregulation of glucose transporter GLUT2 and insulin. Iron overloading, on the other hand, resulted in downregulation of GLUT2 and insulin in a PrP C -dependent manner. Similar observations were noted in the brain, liver, and neuroretina of iron overloaded PrP +/+ but not PrP -/- mice, indicating PrP C -mediated modulation of insulin and glucose homeostasis through iron. Peripheral challenge with glucose and insulin revealed blunting of the response in iron-overloaded PrP +/+ relative to PrP -/- mice, suggesting that PrP C -mediated modulation of IC iron influences both secretion and sensitivity of peripheral organs to insulin. These observations have implications for Alzheimer's disease and diabetic retinopathy, known complications of type-2-diabetes associated with brain and ocular iron-dyshomeostasis.

  15. Prion protein accumulation in lipid rafts of mouse aging brain.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Federica Agostini

    Full Text Available The cellular form of the prion protein (PrP(C is a normal constituent of neuronal cell membranes. The protein misfolding causes rare neurodegenerative disorders known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies or prion diseases. These maladies can be sporadic, genetic or infectious. Sporadic prion diseases are the most common form mainly affecting aging people. In this work, we investigate the biochemical environment in which sporadic prion diseases may develop, focusing our attention on the cell membrane of neurons in the aging brain. It is well established that with aging the ratio between the most abundant lipid components of rafts undergoes a major change: while cholesterol decreases, sphingomyelin content rises. Our results indicate that the aging process modifies the compartmentalization of PrP(C. In old mice, this change favors PrP(C accumulation in detergent-resistant membranes, particularly in hippocampi. To confirm the relationship between lipid content changes and PrP(C translocation into detergent-resistant membranes (DRMs, we looked at PrP(C compartmentalization in hippocampi from acid sphingomyelinase (ASM knockout (KO mice and synaptosomes enriched in sphingomyelin. In the presence of high sphingomyelin content, we observed a significant increase of PrP(C in DRMS. This process is not due to higher levels of total protein and it could, in turn, favor the onset of sporadic prion diseases during aging as it increases the PrP intermolecular contacts into lipid rafts. We observed that lowering sphingomyelin in scrapie-infected cells by using fumonisin B1 led to a 50% decrease in protease-resistant PrP formation. This may suggest an involvement of PrP lipid environment in prion formation and consequently it may play a role in the onset or development of sporadic forms of prion diseases.

  16. Prion disease. The characteristics and diagnostic points in Japan

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sanjo, Nobuo; Mizusawa, Hidehiro

    2010-01-01

    Prion disease develops when normal prion proteins change into transmissible abnormal prion proteins and the converted proteins accumulate in the brain. The Japanese Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) Surveillance Committee has identified 1,320 patients with prion diseases in the 10 years since 1999 (classified into 3 types: sporadic, 77.2%; hereditary, 16.7%; and environmentally acquired, 6.1%). Compared with patients in other countries, a relatively larger number of Japanese patients characteristically have dura mater graft-associated CJD and hereditary prion diseases. All the environmentally acquired cases, except 1 case of variant CJD, were acquired from dura grafts. Although most patients were diagnosed with a classical subtype of sporadic CJD (sCJD), whose features include rapidly progressing dementia, myoclonus, hyperintensity in the cerebral cortex and basal ganglia in diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging, and periodic synchronous discharge in electroencephalography, the number of cases with atypical symptoms, such as MM2 (0.8%), MV2 (0.2%), VV1 (0%), and VV2 (0.2%) subtypes of sCJD cases, was not negligible. Appropriate diagnosis should be made based on clinical features, neuroradiological findings, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) findings (14-3-3 and total tau proteins), and genetic analysis of polymorphisms. Hereditary prion diseases are classified into 3 major phenotypes: familial CJD (fCJD); Gerstmann-Straeussler-Scheinker disease (GSS), which mainly presents as spinocerebellar ataxia; and fatal familial insomnia. Many mutations of the prion protein gene have been identified, but V1801 (fCJD), P102L (GSS), and E200K (fCJD) mutations were the most common among the fCJD cases in Japan. Without a family history, genetic testing is necessary to distinguish even seemingly ''sporadic'' CJD from fCJD. Accurate diagnosis is important for clarification of the pathological process, prevention of secondary infection, and also psychological support. (author)

  17. Selective propagation of mouse-passaged scrapie prions with long incubation period from a mixed prion population using GT1-7 cells.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kohtaro Miyazawa

    Full Text Available In our previous study, we demonstrated the propagation of mouse-passaged scrapie isolates with long incubation periods (L-type derived from natural Japanese sheep scrapie cases in murine hypothalamic GT1-7 cells, along with disease-associated prion protein (PrPSc accumulation. We here analyzed the susceptibility of GT1-7 cells to scrapie prions by exposure to infected mouse brains at different passages, following interspecies transmission. Wild-type mice challenged with a natural sheep scrapie case (Kanagawa exhibited heterogeneity of transmitted scrapie prions in early passages, and this mixed population converged upon one with a short incubation period (S-type following subsequent passages. However, when GT1-7 cells were challenged with these heterologous samples, L-type prions became dominant. This study demonstrated that the susceptibility of GT1-7 cells to L-type prions was at least 105 times higher than that to S-type prions and that L-type prion-specific biological characteristics remained unchanged after serial passages in GT1-7 cells. This suggests that a GT1-7 cell culture model would be more useful for the economical and stable amplification of L-type prions at the laboratory level. Furthermore, this cell culture model might be used to selectively propagate L-type scrapie prions from a mixed prion population.

  18. 75 FR 38958 - Declaration of Prion as a Pest under FIFRA and Amendment of EPA's Regulatory Definition of Pests...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-07

    ... Prion as a Pest under FIFRA and Amendment of EPA's Regulatory Definition of Pests to Include Prion....e., proteinaceous infectious particle) a ``pest'' under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and... is adding prion to the list of pests in EPA's regulations. This amendment, together with the formal...

  19. Resistance to chronic wasting disease in transgenic mice expressing a naturally occurring allelic variant of deer prion protein

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Meade-White, K.; Race, B.; Trifilo, M.; Bossers, A.; Favara, C.; Lacasse, R.; Miller, M.; Williams, E.; Oldstone, M.; Race, R.; Chesebro, B.

    2007-01-01

    Prion protein (PrP) is a required factor for susceptibility to transmissible spongiform encephalopathy or prion diseases. In transgenic mice, expression of prion protein (PrP) from another species often confers susceptibility to prion disease from that donor species. For example, expression of deer

  20. ActivityNet: A Large-Scale Video Benchmark for Human Activity Understanding

    KAUST Repository

    Heilbron, Fabian Caba

    2015-06-02

    In spite of many dataset efforts for human action recognition, current computer vision algorithms are still severely limited in terms of the variability and complexity of the actions that they can recognize. This is in part due to the simplicity of current benchmarks, which mostly focus on simple actions and movements occurring on manually trimmed videos. In this paper we introduce ActivityNet, a new largescale video benchmark for human activity understanding. Our benchmark aims at covering a wide range of complex human activities that are of interest to people in their daily living. In its current version, ActivityNet provides samples from 203 activity classes with an average of 137 untrimmed videos per class and 1.41 activity instances per video, for a total of 849 video hours. We illustrate three scenarios in which ActivityNet can be used to compare algorithms for human activity understanding: untrimmed video classification, trimmed activity classification and activity detection.

  1. ActivityNet: A Large-Scale Video Benchmark for Human Activity Understanding

    KAUST Repository

    Heilbron, Fabian Caba; Castillo, Victor; Ghanem, Bernard; Niebles, Juan Carlos

    2015-01-01

    In spite of many dataset efforts for human action recognition, current computer vision algorithms are still severely limited in terms of the variability and complexity of the actions that they can recognize. This is in part due to the simplicity of current benchmarks, which mostly focus on simple actions and movements occurring on manually trimmed videos. In this paper we introduce ActivityNet, a new largescale video benchmark for human activity understanding. Our benchmark aims at covering a wide range of complex human activities that are of interest to people in their daily living. In its current version, ActivityNet provides samples from 203 activity classes with an average of 137 untrimmed videos per class and 1.41 activity instances per video, for a total of 849 video hours. We illustrate three scenarios in which ActivityNet can be used to compare algorithms for human activity understanding: untrimmed video classification, trimmed activity classification and activity detection.

  2. Genetic Predictions of Prion Disease Susceptibility in Carnivore Species Based on Variability of the Prion Gene Coding Region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stewart, Paula; Campbell, Lauren; Skogtvedt, Susan; Griffin, Karen A.; Arnemo, Jon M.; Tryland, Morten; Girling, Simon; Miller, Michael W.; Tranulis, Michael A.; Goldmann, Wilfred

    2012-01-01

    Mammalian species vary widely in their apparent susceptibility to prion diseases. For example, several felid species developed prion disease (feline spongiform encephalopathy or FSE) during the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) epidemic in the United Kingdom, whereas no canine BSE cases were detected. Whether either of these or other groups of carnivore species can contract other prion diseases (e.g. chronic wasting disease or CWD) remains an open question. Variation in the host-encoded prion protein (PrPC) largely explains observed disease susceptibility patterns within ruminant species, and may explain interspecies differences in susceptibility as well. We sequenced and compared the open reading frame of the PRNP gene encoding PrPC protein from 609 animal samples comprising 29 species from 22 genera of the Order Carnivora; amongst these samples were 15 FSE cases. Our analysis revealed that FSE cases did not encode an identifiable disease-associated PrP polymorphism. However, all canid PrPs contained aspartic acid or glutamic acid at codon 163 which we propose provides a genetic basis for observed susceptibility differences between canids and felids. Among other carnivores studied, wolverine (Gulo gulo) and pine marten (Martes martes) were the only non-canid species to also express PrP-Asp163, which may impact on their prion diseases susceptibility. Populations of black bear (Ursus americanus) and mountain lion (Puma concolor) from Colorado showed little genetic variation in the PrP protein and no variants likely to be highly resistant to prions in general, suggesting that strain differences between BSE and CWD prions also may contribute to the limited apparent host range of the latter. PMID:23236380

  3. Genetic predictions of prion disease susceptibility in carnivore species based on variability of the prion gene coding region.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paula Stewart

    Full Text Available Mammalian species vary widely in their apparent susceptibility to prion diseases. For example, several felid species developed prion disease (feline spongiform encephalopathy or FSE during the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE epidemic in the United Kingdom, whereas no canine BSE cases were detected. Whether either of these or other groups of carnivore species can contract other prion diseases (e.g. chronic wasting disease or CWD remains an open question. Variation in the host-encoded prion protein (PrP(C largely explains observed disease susceptibility patterns within ruminant species, and may explain interspecies differences in susceptibility as well. We sequenced and compared the open reading frame of the PRNP gene encoding PrP(C protein from 609 animal samples comprising 29 species from 22 genera of the Order Carnivora; amongst these samples were 15 FSE cases. Our analysis revealed that FSE cases did not encode an identifiable disease-associated PrP polymorphism. However, all canid PrPs contained aspartic acid or glutamic acid at codon 163 which we propose provides a genetic basis for observed susceptibility differences between canids and felids. Among other carnivores studied, wolverine (Gulo gulo and pine marten (Martes martes were the only non-canid species to also express PrP-Asp163, which may impact on their prion diseases susceptibility. Populations of black bear (Ursus americanus and mountain lion (Puma concolor from Colorado showed little genetic variation in the PrP protein and no variants likely to be highly resistant to prions in general, suggesting that strain differences between BSE and CWD prions also may contribute to the limited apparent host range of the latter.

  4. Understanding arsenic metabolism through spectroscopic determination of arsenic in human urine

    OpenAIRE

    Brima, Eid I.; Jenkins, Richard O.; Haris, Parvez I.

    2006-01-01

    In this review we discuss a range of spectroscopic techniques that are currently used for analysis of arsenic in human urine for understanding arsenic metabolism and toxicity, especially in relation to genetics/ethnicity, ingestion studies and exposure to arsenic through drinking water and diet. Spectroscopic techniques used for analysis of arsenic in human urine include inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), hydride generation atomic absorption spectrometry (HG-AAS), hydride ...

  5. THE ROLE OF PRAGMATICS IN UNDERSTANDING HUMAN COMMUNICATION IN AN INSTITUTIONAL SETTING

    OpenAIRE

    Hussain AL SHAROUFI

    2013-01-01

    This study tries to show the importance of pragmatics in understanding human communication in an institutional setting. Speakers and listeners are actively involved in a negotiating process that leads to creating a cycle of actively changing contexts in which speech acts win their legitimacy of being real doers of action in real-time situations. Particular cultural repertoires in human societies facilitate language with a wealth of contextual resources that can help anchor meaning by favourin...

  6. Human Computer Collaboration at the Edge: Enhancing Collective Situation Understanding with Controlled Natural Language

    Science.gov (United States)

    2016-09-06

    conversational agent with information exchange disabled until the end of the experiment run. The meaning of the indicator in the top- right of the agent... Human Computer Collaboration at the Edge: Enhancing Collective Situation Understanding with Controlled Natural Language Alun Preece∗, William...email: PreeceAD@cardiff.ac.uk †Emerging Technology Services, IBM United Kingdom Ltd, Hursley Park, Winchester, UK ‡US Army Research Laboratory, Human

  7. Organizing to Understand: How to Operate Effectively in the Human Domain

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-05-21

    was both entering and creating when it overthrew Saddam Hussein and dismantled the Iraqi government and security forces. The research examines the...sponsored initiative to help tactical and operational level commanders understand the human terrain, the “social, ethnographic , cultural, economic, and...as an intelligence function within TRADOC “as the primary and enduring social science-based human domain research , analysis, and training capability

  8. Human Activity-Understanding: A Multilayer Approach Combining Body Movements and Contextual Descriptors Analysis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Consuelo Granata

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available A deep understanding of human activity is key to successful human-robot interaction (HRI. The translation of sensed human behavioural signals/cues and context descriptors into an encoded human activity remains a challenge because of the complex nature of human actions. In this paper, we propose a multilayer framework for the understanding of human activity to be implemented in a mobile robot. It consists of a perception layer which exploits a D-RGB-based skeleton tracking output used to simulate a physical model of virtual human dynamics in order to compensate for the inaccuracy and inconsistency of the raw data. A multi-support vector machine (MSVM model trained with features describing the human motor coordination through temporal segments in combination with environment descriptors (object affordance is used to recognize each sub-activity (classification layer. The interpretation of sequences of classified elementary actions is based on discrete hidden Markov models (DHMMs (interpretation layer. The framework assessment was performed on the Cornell Activity Dataset (CAD-120 [1]. The performances of our method are comparable with those presented in [2] and clearly show the relevance of this model-based approach.

  9. Defined α-synuclein prion-like molecular assemblies spreading in cell culture.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aulić, Suzana; Le, Tran Thanh Nhat; Moda, Fabio; Abounit, Saïda; Corvaglia, Stefania; Casalis, Loredana; Gustincich, Stefano; Zurzolo, Chiara; Tagliavini, Fabrizio; Legname, Giuseppe

    2014-06-04

    α-Synuclein (α-syn) plays a central role in the pathogenesis of synucleinopathies, a group of neurodegenerative disorders that includes Parkinson disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and multiple system atrophy. Several findings from cell culture and mouse experiments suggest intercellular α-syn transfer. Through a methodology used to obtain synthetic mammalian prions, we tested whether recombinant human α-syn amyloids can promote prion-like accumulation in neuronal cell lines in vitro. A single exposure to amyloid fibrils of human α-syn was sufficient to induce aggregation of endogenous α-syn in human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells. Remarkably, endogenous wild-type α-syn was sufficient for the formation of these aggregates, and overexpression of the protein was not required. Our results provide compelling evidence that endogenous α-syn can accumulate in cell culture after a single exposure to exogenous α-syn short amyloid fibrils. Importantly, using α-syn short amyloid fibrils as seed, endogenous α-syn aggregates and accumulates over several passages in cell culture, providing an excellent tool for potential therapeutic screening of pathogenic α-syn aggregates.

  10. Pin1 and neurodegeneration: a new player for prion disorders?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elisa Isopi

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available Pin1 is a peptidyl-prolyl isomerase that catalyzes the cis/trans conversion of phosphorylated proteins at serine or threonine residues which precede a proline. The peptidyl-prolyl isomerization induces a conformational change of the proteins involved in cell signaling process. Pin1 dysregulation has been associated with some neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease. Proline-directed phosphorylation is a common regulator of these pathologies and a recent work showed that it is also involved in prion disorders. In fact, prion protein phosphorylation at the Ser-43-Pro motif induces prion protein conversion into a disease-associated form. Furthermore, phosphorylation at Ser-43-Pro has been observed to increase in the cerebral spinal fluid of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease patients. These findings provide new insights into the pathogenesis of prion disorders, suggesting Pin1 as a potential new player in the disease. In this paper, we review the mechanisms underlying Pin1 involvement in the aforementioned neurodegenerative pathologies focusing on the potential role of Pin1 in prion disorders.

  11. Role of galectin-3 in prion infections of the CNS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Mok, Simon W.F.; Riemer, Constanze; Madela, Kazimierz; Hsu, Daniel K.; Liu, Fu-Tong; Gueltner, Sandra; Heise, Ines; Baier, Michael

    2007-01-01

    Galectin-3 is a multi-functional protein and participates in mediating inflammatory reactions. The pronounced overexpression of galectin-3 in prion-infected brain tissue prompted us to study the role of this protein in a murine prion model. Immunofluorescence double-labelling identified microglia as the major cell type expressing galectin-3. Ablation of galectin-3 did not affect PrP Sc -deposition and development of gliosis. However, galectin-3 -/- -mice showed prolonged survival times upon intracerebral and peripheral scrapie infections. Moreover, protein levels of the lysosomal activation marker LAMP-2 were markedly reduced in prion-infected galectin-3 -/- -mice suggesting a role of galectin-3 in regulation of lysosomal functions. Lower mRNA levels of Beclin-1 and Atg5 in prion-infected wild-type and galectin-3 -/- -mice indicated an impairment of autophagy although autophagosome formation was unchanged. The results point towards a detrimental role of galectin-3 in prion infections of the CNS and suggest that endo-/lysosomal dysfunction in combination with reduced autophagy may contribute to disease development

  12. Yeast prion architecture explains how proteins can be genes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wickner, Reed

    2013-03-01

    Prions (infectious proteins) transmit information without an accompanying DNA or RNA. Most yeast prions are self-propagating amyloids that inactivate a normally functional protein. A single protein can become any of several prion variants, with different manifestations due to different amyloid structures. We showed that the yeast prion amyloids of Ure2p, Sup35p and Rnq1p are folded in-register parallel beta sheets using solid state NMR dipolar recoupling experiments, mass-per-filament-length measurements, and filament diameter measurements. The extent of beta sheet structure, measured by chemical shifts in solid-state NMR and acquired protease-resistance on amyloid formation, combined with the measured filament diameters, imply that the beta sheets must be folded along the long axis of the filament. We speculate that prion variants of a single protein sequence differ in the location of these folds. Favorable interactions between identical side chains must hold these structures in-register. The same interactions must guide an unstructured monomer joining the end of a filament to assume the same conformation as molecules already in the filament, with the turns at the same locations. In this way, a protein can template its own conformation, in analogy to the ability of a DNA molecule to template its sequence by specific base-pairing. Bldg. 8, Room 225, NIH, 8 Center Drive MSC 0830, Bethesda, MD 20892-0830, wickner@helix.nih.gov, 301-496-3452

  13. Prion Fragment Peptides Are Digested with Membrane Type Matrix Metalloproteinases and Acquire Enzyme Resistance through Cu2+-Binding

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aya Kojima

    2014-05-01

    Full Text Available Prions are the cause of neurodegenerative disease in humans and other mammals. The structural conversion of the prion protein (PrP from a normal cellular protein (PrPC to a protease-resistant isoform (PrPSc is thought to relate to Cu2+ binding to histidine residues. In this study, we focused on the membrane-type matrix metalloproteinases (MT-MMPs such as MT1-MMP and MT3-MMP, which are expressed in the brain as PrPC-degrading proteases. We synthesized 21 prion fragment peptides. Each purified peptide was individually incubated with recombinant MT1-MMP or MT3-MMP in the presence or absence of Cu2+ and the cleavage sites determined by LC-ESI-MS analysis. Recombinant MMP-7 and human serum (HS were also tested as control. hPrP61-90, from the octapeptide-repeat region, was cleaved by HS but not by the MMPs tested here. On the other hand, hPrP92-168 from the central region was cleaved by MT1-MMP and MT3-MMP at various sites. These cleavages were inhibited by treatment with Cu2+. The C-terminal peptides had higher resistance than the central region. The data obtained from this study suggest that MT-MMPs expressed in the brain might possess PrPC-degrading activity.

  14. Semi-purification procedures of prions from a prion-infected brain using sucrose has no influence on the nonenzymatic glycation of the disease-associated prion isoform.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Choi, Yeong-Gon; Kim, Jae-Il; Choi, Eun-Kyoung; Carp, Richard I; Kim, Yong-Sun

    2016-01-01

    Previous studies have shown that the Nε-carboxymethyl group is linked to not only one or more N-terminal Lys residues but also to one or more Lys residues of the protease-resistant core region of the pathogenic prion isoform (PrPSc) in prion-infected brains. Using an anti-advanced glycation end product (AGE) antibody, we detected nonenzymatically glycated PrPSc (AGE-PrPSc) in prion-infected brains following concentration by a series of ultracentrifugation steps with a sucrose cushion. In the present study, the levels of in vitro nonenzymatic glycation of PrPSc using sucrose were investigated to determine whether sucrose cushion can artificially and nonenzymatically induce in vitro glycation during ultracentrifugation. The first insoluble pellet fraction following the first ultracentrifugation (PU1st) collected from 263K scrapie-infected brains was incubated with sucrose, glucose or colloidal silica coated with polyvinylpyrrolidone (percoll). None of the compounds in vitro resulted in AGE-PrPSc. Nonetheless, glucose and percoll produced AGEs in vitro from other proteins within PU1st of the infected brains. This reaction could lead to the AGE-modified polymer(s) of nonenzymatic glycation-prone protein(s). This study showed that PrPSc is not nonenzymatically glycated in vitro with sucrose, glucose or percoll and that AGE-modified PrPSc can be isolated and enriched from prion-infected brains.

  15. Early behavioral changes and quantitative analysis of neuropathological features in murine prion disease

    Science.gov (United States)

    Borner, Roseane; Bento-Torres, João; Souza, Diego RV; Sadala, Danyelle B; Trevia, Nonata; Farias, José Augusto; Lins, Nara; Passos, Aline; Quintairos, Amanda; Diniz, José Antônio; Perry, Victor Hugh; Vasconcelos, Pedro Fernando; Cunningham, Colm

    2011-01-01

    Behavioral and neuropathological changes have been widely investigated in murine prion disease but stereological based unbiased estimates of key neuropathological features have not been carried out. After injections of ME7 infected (ME7) or normal brain homogenates (NBH) into dorsal CA1 of albino Swiss mice and C57BL6, we assessed behavioral changes on hippocampal-dependent tasks. We also estimated by optical fractionator at 15 and 18 weeks post-injections (w.p.i.) the total number of neurons, reactive astrocytes, activated microglia and perineuronal nets (PN) in the polymorphic layer of dentate gyrus (PolDG), CA1 and septum in albino Swiss mice. On average, early behavioral changes in albino Swiss mice start four weeks later than in C57BL6. Cluster and discriminant analysis of behavioral data in albino Swiss mice revealed that four of nine subjects start to change their behavior at 12 w.p.i. and reach terminal stage at 22 w.p.i and the remaining subjects start at 22 w.p.i. and reach terminal stage at 26 w.p.i. Biotinylated dextran-amine BDA-tracer experiments in mossy fiber pathway confirmed axonal degeneration and stereological data showed that early astrocytosis, microgliosis and reduction in the perineuronal nets are independent of a change in the number of neuronal cell bodies. Statistical analysis revealed that the septal region had greater levels of neuroinflammation and extracellular matrix damage than CA1. This stereological and multivariate analysis at early stages of disease in an outbred model of prion disease provided new insights connecting behavioral changes and neuroinflammation and seems to be important to understand the mechanisms of prion disease progression. PMID:21862877

  16. Effects of a Co-operative Learning Strategy on Ninth-Graders' Understanding of Human Nutrition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soyibo, Kola; Evans, Hermel G.

    2002-01-01

    Looks at the effect of teaching strategies on a group's attitude toward biology and understanding human nutrition. Used an experimental group that participated in co-operative learning and a control group taught using the lecture method. Involves ninth graders (n=156) from two high schools in Jamaica. (Author/YDS)

  17. The Psychology of Isolated and Confined Environments: Understanding Human Behavior in Antarctica.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Palinkas, Lawrence A.

    2003-01-01

    Reviews lessons learned from research in Antarctica with relevance to understanding human behavior in other isolated and confined environments. Outlines four distinct characteristics of psychosocial adaptation to such environments and discusses some of the benefits for individuals seeking challenging experiences. (Contains references.) (SLD)

  18. A simple, versatile and sensitive cell-based assay for prions from various species.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zaira E Arellano-Anaya

    Full Text Available Detection and quantification of prion infectivity is a crucial step for various fundamental and applied aspects of prion research. Identification of cell lines highly sensitive to prion infection led to the development of cell-based titration procedures aiming at replacing animal bioassays, usually performed in mice or hamsters. However, most of these cell lines are only permissive to mouse-adapted prions strains and do not allow titration of prions from other species. In this study, we show that epithelial RK13, a cell line permissive to mouse and bank vole prion strains and to natural prion agents from sheep and cervids, enables a robust and sensitive detection of mouse and ovine-derived prions. Importantly, the cell culture work is strongly reduced as the RK13 cell assay procedure designed here does not require subcultivation of the inoculated cultures. We also show that prions effectively bind to culture plastic vessel and are quantitatively detected by the cell assay. The possibility to easily quantify a wider range of prions, including rodent experimental strains but also natural agents from sheep and cervids, should prompt the spread of cell assays for routine prion titration and lead to valuable information in fundamental and applied studies.

  19. Ascertainment bias causes false signal of anticipation in genetic prion disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Minikel, Eric Vallabh; Zerr, Inga; Collins, Steven J; Ponto, Claudia; Boyd, Alison; Klug, Genevieve; Karch, André; Kenny, Joanna; Collinge, John; Takada, Leonel T; Forner, Sven; Fong, Jamie C; Mead, Simon; Geschwind, Michael D

    2014-10-02

    Anticipation is the phenomenon whereby age of onset in genetic disease decreases in successive generations. Three independent reports have claimed anticipation in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) caused by the c.598G > A mutation in PRNP encoding a p.Glu200Lys (E200K) substitution in the prion protein. If confirmed, this finding would carry clear implications for genetic counseling. We analyzed pedigrees with this mutation from four prion centers worldwide (n = 217 individuals with the mutation) to analyze age of onset and death in affected and censored individuals. We show through simulation that selective ascertainment of individuals whose onset falls within the historical window since the mutation's 1989 discovery is sufficient to create robust false signals both of anticipation and of heritability of age of onset. In our data set, the number of years of anticipation observed depends upon how strictly the data are limited by the ascertainment window. Among individuals whose disease was directly observed at a study center, a 28-year difference between parent and child age of onset is observed (p = 0.002), but including individuals ascertained retrospectively through family history reduces this figure to 7 years (p = 0.005). Applying survival analysis to the most thoroughly ascertained subset of data eliminates the signal of anticipation. Moreover, even non-CJD deaths exhibit 16 years anticipation (p = 0.002), indicating that ascertainment bias can entirely explain observed anticipation. We suggest that reports of anticipation in genetic prion disease are driven entirely by ascertainment bias. Guidelines for future studies claiming statistical evidence for anticipation are suggested. Copyright © 2014 The American Society of Human Genetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  20. Using Big Data to Understand the Human Condition: The Kavli HUMAN Project.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Azmak, Okan; Bayer, Hannah; Caplin, Andrew; Chun, Miyoung; Glimcher, Paul; Koonin, Steven; Patrinos, Aristides

    2015-09-01

    Until now, most large-scale studies of humans have either focused on very specific domains of inquiry or have relied on between-subjects approaches. While these previous studies have been invaluable for revealing important biological factors in cardiac health or social factors in retirement choices, no single repository contains anything like a complete record of the health, education, genetics, environmental, and lifestyle profiles of a large group of individuals at the within-subject level. This seems critical today because emerging evidence about the dynamic interplay between biology, behavior, and the environment point to a pressing need for just the kind of large-scale, long-term synoptic dataset that does not yet exist at the within-subject level. At the same time that the need for such a dataset is becoming clear, there is also growing evidence that just such a synoptic dataset may now be obtainable-at least at moderate scale-using contemporary big data approaches. To this end, we introduce the Kavli HUMAN Project (KHP), an effort to aggregate data from 2,500 New York City households in all five boroughs (roughly 10,000 individuals) whose biology and behavior will be measured using an unprecedented array of modalities over 20 years. It will also richly measure environmental conditions and events that KHP members experience using a geographic information system database of unparalleled scale, currently under construction in New York. In this manner, KHP will offer both synoptic and granular views of how human health and behavior coevolve over the life cycle and why they evolve differently for different people. In turn, we argue that this will allow for new discovery-based scientific approaches, rooted in big data analytics, to improving the health and quality of human life, particularly in urban contexts.

  1. Fungal prion HET-s as a model for structural complexity and self-propagation in prions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wan, William; Stubbs, Gerald

    2014-04-08

    The highly ordered and reproducible structure of the fungal prion HET-s makes it an excellent model system for studying the inherent properties of prions, self-propagating infectious proteins that have been implicated in a number of fatal diseases. In particular, the HET-s prion-forming domain readily folds into a relatively complex two-rung β-solenoid amyloid. The faithful self-propagation of this fold involves a diverse array of inter- and intramolecular structural features. These features include a long flexible loop connecting the two rungs, buried polar residues, salt bridges, and asparagine ladders. We have used site-directed mutagenesis and X-ray fiber diffraction to probe the relative importance of these features for the formation of β-solenoid structure, as well as the cumulative effects of multiple mutations. Using fibrillization kinetics and chemical stability assays, we have determined the biophysical effects of our mutations on the assembly and stability of the prion-forming domain. We have found that a diversity of structural features provides a level of redundancy that allows robust folding and stability even in the face of significant sequence alterations and suboptimal environmental conditions. Our findings provide fundamental insights into the structural interactions necessary for self-propagation. Propagation of prion structure seems to require an obligatory level of complexity that may not be reproducible in short peptide models.

  2. Comparative analysis of the prion protein gene sequences in African lion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Chang-De; Pang, Wan-Yong; Zhao, De-Ming

    2006-10-01

    The prion protein gene of African lion (Panthera Leo) was first cloned and polymorphisms screened. The results suggest that the prion protein gene of eight African lions is highly homogenous. The amino acid sequences of the prion protein (PrP) of all samples tested were identical. Four single nucleotide polymorphisms (C42T, C81A, C420T, T600C) in the prion protein gene (Prnp) of African lion were found, but no amino acid substitutions. Sequence analysis showed that the higher homology is observed to felis catus AF003087 (96.7%) and to sheep number M31313.1 (96.2%) Genbank accessed. With respect to all the mammalian prion protein sequences compared, the African lion prion protein sequence has three amino acid substitutions. The homology might in turn affect the potential intermolecular interactions critical for cross species transmission of prion disease.

  3. Follicular dendritic cell-specific prion protein (PrP expression alone is sufficient to sustain prion infection in the spleen.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laura McCulloch

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available Prion diseases are characterised by the accumulation of PrP(Sc, an abnormally folded isoform of the cellular prion protein (PrP(C, in affected tissues. Following peripheral exposure high levels of prion-specific PrP(Sc accumulate first upon follicular dendritic cells (FDC in lymphoid tissues before spreading to the CNS. Expression of PrP(C is mandatory for cells to sustain prion infection and FDC appear to express high levels. However, whether FDC actively replicate prions or simply acquire them from other infected cells is uncertain. In the attempts to-date to establish the role of FDC in prion pathogenesis it was not possible to dissociate the Prnp expression of FDC from that of the nervous system and all other non-haematopoietic lineages. This is important as FDC may simply acquire prions after synthesis by other infected cells. To establish the role of FDC in prion pathogenesis transgenic mice were created in which PrP(C expression was specifically "switched on" or "off" only on FDC. We show that PrP(C-expression only on FDC is sufficient to sustain prion replication in the spleen. Furthermore, prion replication is blocked in the spleen when PrP(C-expression is specifically ablated only on FDC. These data definitively demonstrate that FDC are the essential sites of prion replication in lymphoid tissues. The demonstration that Prnp-ablation only on FDC blocked splenic prion accumulation without apparent consequences for FDC status represents a novel opportunity to prevent neuroinvasion by modulation of PrP(C expression on FDC.

  4. Understanding Spatiotemporal Patterns of Human Convergence and Divergence Using Mobile Phone Location Data

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xiping Yang

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available Investigating human mobility patterns can help researchers and agencies understand the driving forces of human movement, with potential benefits for urban planning and traffic management. Recent advances in location-aware technologies have provided many new data sources (e.g., mobile phone and social media data for studying human space-time behavioral regularity. Although existing studies have utilized these new datasets to characterize human mobility patterns from various aspects, such as predicting human mobility and monitoring urban dynamics, few studies have focused on human convergence and divergence patterns within a city. This study aims to explore human spatial convergence and divergence and their evolutions over time using large-scale mobile phone location data. Using a dataset from Shenzhen, China, we developed a method to identify spatiotemporal patterns of human convergence and divergence. Eight distinct patterns were extracted, and the spatial distributions of these patterns are discussed in the context of urban functional regions. Thus, this study investigates urban human convergence and divergence patterns and their relationships with the urban functional environment, which is helpful for urban policy development, urban planning and traffic management.

  5. Humic substances interfere with detection of pathogenic prion protein

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Christen B.; Booth, Clarissa J.; Wadzinski, Tyler J.; Legname, Giuseppe; Chappell, Rick; Johnson, Christopher J.; Pedersen, Joel A.

    2014-01-01

    Studies examining the persistence of prions (the etiological agent of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies) in soil require accurate quantification of pathogenic prion protein (PrPTSE) extracted from or in the presence of soil particles. Here, we demonstrate that natural organic matter (NOM) in soil impacts PrPTSE detection by immunoblotting. Methods commonly used to extract PrPTSE from soils release substantial amounts of NOM, and NOM inhibited PrPTSE immunoblot signal. The degree of immunoblot interference increased with increasing NOM concentration and decreasing NOM polarity. Humic substances affected immunoblot detection of prion protein from both deer and hamsters. We also establish that after interaction with humic acid, PrPTSE remains infectious to hamsters inoculated intracerebrally, and humic acid appeared to slow disease progression. These results provide evidence for interactions between PrPTSE and humic substances that influence both accurate measurement of PrPTSE in soil and disease transmission.

  6. Rationality and irrationality in understanding human behaviour. An evaluation of the methodological consequences of conceptualising irrationality

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cosmin Toth

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available Some of the most known and fertile models for understanding human behaviour are those which rest on the assumption of human rationality. These models have specific strategies for dealing with situations in which understanding human behaviour becomes difficult, i.e. cases of irrationality, and this, in turn, leads to particular methodological consequences. The aim of this article is to illustrate and systematize some of the typical theoretical approaches to the issues of rationality and irrationality and their methodological consequences, while warning, at the same time, against the risks of applying rationality models of a pronounced normative-evaluative nature. A number of important methodological consequences of applying the principle of charity to various degrees of strength are analysed and a taxonomic grid for the different ways of approaching rationality is presented.

  7. Comparative Study of Prions in Iatrogenic and Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xiao, Xiangzhu; Yuan, Jue; Qing, Liuting; Cali, Ignazio; Mikol, Jacqueline; Delisle, Marie-Bernadette; Uro-Coste, Emmanuelle; Zeng, Liang; Abouelsaad, Mai; Gazgalis, Dimitris; Martinez, Manuel Camacho; Wang, Gong-Xian; Brown, Paul; Ironside, James W.; Gambetti, Pierluigi; Kong, Qingzhong; Zou, Wen-Quan

    2014-01-01

    Differentiating iatrogenic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (iCJD) from sporadic CJD (sCJD) would be useful for the identification and prevention of human-to-human prion transmission. Currently, the diagnosis of iCJD depends on identification of a recognized source of contamination to which patients have been exposed, in addition to fulfilling basic requirements for the establishment of diagnosis of CJD. Attempts to identify differences in clinical manifestations, neuropathological changes and pathological prion protein (PrPSc) between iCJD and sCJD have been unsuccessful. In the present study, using a variety of more sophisticated methods including sucrose step gradient sedimentation, conformational stability immunoassay, protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA), fragment-mapping, and transmission study, we show no significant differences in gel profiles, oligomeric state, conformational stability and infectivity of PrPSc between iCJD and sCJD. However, using PMCA, we find that convertibility and amplification efficiency of PrPSc is greater in iCJD than in sCJD in a polymorphism-dependent manner. Moreover, two protease-resistant PrP C-terminal fragments (termed PrP-CTF12/13) were detected in all 9 cases of sCJD but not in 6 of 8 cases of iCJD tested in this study. The use of fragment mapping- and PMCA-based assays thus provides a means to distinguish most cases of iCJD from sCJD. PMID:25419482

  8. Analysis of nucleic acid chaperoning by the prion protein and its inhibition by oligonucleotides.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guichard, Cécile; Ivanyi-Nagy, Roland; Sharma, Kamal Kant; Gabus, Caroline; Marc, Daniel; Mély, Yves; Darlix, Jean-Luc

    2011-10-01

    Prion diseases are unique neurodegenerative illnesses associated with the conversion of the cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) into the aggregated misfolded scrapie isoform, named PrP(Sc). Recent studies on the physiological role of PrP(C) revealed that this protein has probably multiple functions, notably in cell-cell adhesion and signal transduction, and in assisting nucleic acid folding. In fact, in vitro findings indicated that the human PrP (huPrP) possesses nucleic acid binding and annealing activities, similarly to nucleic acid chaperone proteins that play essential roles in cellular DNA and RNA metabolism. Here, we show that a peptide, representing the N-terminal domain of huPrP, facilitates nucleic acid annealing by two parallel pathways nucleated through the stem termini. We also show that PrP of human or ovine origin facilitates DNA strand exchange, ribozyme-directed cleavage of an RNA template and RNA trans-splicing in a manner similar to the nucleocapsid protein of HIV-1. In an attempt to characterize inhibitors of PrP-chaperoning in vitro we discovered that the thioaptamer 5'-GACACAAGCCGA-3' was extensively inhibiting the PrP chaperoning activities. At the same time a recently characterized methylated oligoribonucleotide inhibiting the chaperoning activity of the HIV-1 nucleocapsid protein was poorly impairing the PrP chaperoning activities.

  9. Disrupting the cortical actin cytoskeleton points to two distinct mechanisms of yeast [PSI+] prion formation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Speldewinde, Shaun H.; Tuite, Mick F.

    2017-01-01

    Mammalian and fungal prions arise de novo; however, the mechanism is poorly understood in molecular terms. One strong possibility is that oxidative damage to the non-prion form of a protein may be an important trigger influencing the formation of its heritable prion conformation. We have examined the oxidative stress-induced formation of the yeast [PSI+] prion, which is the altered conformation of the Sup35 translation termination factor. We used tandem affinity purification (TAP) and mass spectrometry to identify the proteins which associate with Sup35 in a tsa1 tsa2 antioxidant mutant to address the mechanism by which Sup35 forms the [PSI+] prion during oxidative stress conditions. This analysis identified several components of the cortical actin cytoskeleton including the Abp1 actin nucleation promoting factor, and we show that deletion of the ABP1 gene abrogates oxidant-induced [PSI+] prion formation. The frequency of spontaneous [PSI+] prion formation can be increased by overexpression of Sup35 since the excess Sup35 increases the probability of forming prion seeds. In contrast to oxidant-induced [PSI+] prion formation, overexpression-induced [PSI+] prion formation was only modestly affected in an abp1 mutant. Furthermore, treating yeast cells with latrunculin A to disrupt the formation of actin cables and patches abrogated oxidant-induced, but not overexpression-induced [PSI+] prion formation, suggesting a mechanistic difference in prion formation. [PIN+], the prion form of Rnq1, localizes to the IPOD (insoluble protein deposit) and is thought to influence the aggregation of other proteins. We show Sup35 becomes oxidized and aggregates during oxidative stress conditions, but does not co-localize with Rnq1 in an abp1 mutant which may account for the reduced frequency of [PSI+] prion formation. PMID:28369054

  10. Neurobiological approaches to a better understanding of human nature and human values

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gerald Hüther

    2006-04-01

    Full Text Available The most important finding made in the field of neurobiological research during the last decade is the discovery of the enormous experience-dependent plasticity of the human brain. The elaboration and stabilization of synaptic connectivity, and therefore, the complexity of neuronal networks in the higher brain centres depend to a far greater extent than previously believed on how – or rather, for which purpose – an individual uses his brain, the goals pursued, the experiences made in the course of his life, the models used for orientation, the values providing stability and eliciting a sense of commitment. The transmission and internalization of culture-specific abilities and of culture-specific values is achieved primarily during childhood by nonverbal communication (mirror neuron system, imitation learning as well as by implicit and explicit experiences (reward system, avoidance and reinforcement learning. Therefore the structural and functional organization of the human brain is crucially determined by social and cultural factors. Especially the frontal cortex with its highly complex neuronal networks involved in executive functions, evaluation an decision making must be conceptualized as a social, culturally shaped construct. The most important prerequisites for the transgenerational transmission of human values and their deep implementation into the higher frontocortical networks of the brains of subsequent generations are secure affectional relationships and a broad spectrum of different challenges. Only under such conditions, children are able to stabilize sufficiently complex networks and internal representations for metacognitive competences in their brains. This delicate process of experience-dependent organization of neuronal connectivity is seriously and often also persistently hampered or prematurely terminated by uncontrollable stress experiences. This danger ought be minimized by education programs aiming at the implementation

  11. Differentially expressed genes in iron-induced prion protein conversion

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kim, Minsun; Kim, Eun-hee; Choi, Bo-Ran; Woo, Hee-Jong

    2016-01-01

    The conversion of the cellular prion protein (PrP C ) to the protease-resistant isoform is the key event in chronic neurodegenerative diseases, including transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). Increased iron in prion-related disease has been observed due to the prion protein-ferritin complex. Additionally, the accumulation and conversion of recombinant PrP (rPrP) is specifically derived from Fe(III) but not Fe(II). Fe(III)-mediated PK-resistant PrP (PrP res ) conversion occurs within a complex cellular environment rather than via direct contact between rPrP and Fe(III). In this study, differentially expressed genes correlated with prion degeneration by Fe(III) were identified using Affymetrix microarrays. Following Fe(III) treatment, 97 genes were differentially expressed, including 85 upregulated genes and 12 downregulated genes (≥1.5-fold change in expression). However, Fe(II) treatment produced moderate alterations in gene expression without inducing dramatic alterations in gene expression profiles. Moreover, functional grouping of identified genes indicated that the differentially regulated genes were highly associated with cell growth, cell maintenance, and intra- and extracellular transport. These findings showed that Fe(III) may influence the expression of genes involved in PrP folding by redox mechanisms. The identification of genes with altered expression patterns in neural cells may provide insights into PrP conversion mechanisms during the development and progression of prion-related diseases. - Highlights: • Differential genes correlated with prion degeneration by Fe(III) were identified. • Genes were identified in cell proliferation and intra- and extracellular transport. • In PrP degeneration, redox related genes were suggested. • Cbr2, Rsad2, Slc40a1, Amph and Mvd were expressed significantly.

  12. Prion propagation in cells expressing PrP glycosylation mutants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salamat, Muhammad K; Dron, Michel; Chapuis, Jérôme; Langevin, Christelle; Laude, Hubert

    2011-04-01

    Infection by prions involves conversion of a host-encoded cell surface protein (PrP(C)) to a disease-related isoform (PrP(Sc)). PrP(C) carries two glycosylation sites variably occupied by complex N-glycans, which have been suggested by previous studies to influence the susceptibility to these diseases and to determine characteristics of prion strains. We used the Rov cell system, which is susceptible to sheep prions, to generate a series of PrP(C) glycosylation mutants with mutations at one or both attachment sites. We examined their subcellular trafficking and ability to convert into PrP(Sc) and to sustain stable prion propagation in the absence of wild-type PrP. The susceptibility to infection of mutants monoglycosylated at either site differed dramatically depending on the amino acid substitution. Aglycosylated double mutants showed overaccumulation in the Golgi compartment and failed to be infected. Introduction of an ectopic glycosylation site near the N terminus fully restored cell surface expression of PrP but not convertibility into PrP(Sc), while PrP(C) with three glycosylation sites conferred cell permissiveness to infection similarly to the wild type. In contrast, predominantly aglycosylated molecules with nonmutated N-glycosylation sequons, produced in cells expressing glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchorless PrP(C), were able to form infectious PrP(Sc). Together our findings suggest that glycosylation is important for efficient trafficking of anchored PrP to the cell surface and sustained prion propagation. However, properly trafficked glycosylation mutants were not necessarily prone to conversion, thus making it difficult in such studies to discern whether the amino acid changes or glycan chain removal most influences the permissiveness to prion infection.

  13. Prion potency in stem cells biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lopes, Marilene H; Santos, Tiago G

    2012-01-01

    Prion protein (PrP) can be considered a pivotal molecule because it interacts with several partners to perform a diverse range of critical biological functions that might differ in embryonic and adult cells. In recent years, there have been major advances in elucidating the putative role of PrP in the basic biology of stem cells in many different systems. Here, we review the evidence indicating that PrP is a key molecule involved in driving different aspects of the potency of embryonic and tissue-specific stem cells in self-perpetuation and differentiation in many cell types. It has been shown that PrP is involved in stem cell self-renewal, controlling pluripotency gene expression, proliferation, and neural and cardiomyocyte differentiation. PrP also has essential roles in distinct processes that regulate tissue-specific stem cell biology in nervous and hematopoietic systems and during muscle regeneration. Results from our own investigations have shown that PrP is able to modulate self-renewal and proliferation in neural stem cells, processes that are enhanced by PrP interactions with stress inducible protein 1 (STI1). Thus, the available data reveal the influence of PrP in acting upon the maintenance of pluripotent status or the differentiation of stem cells from the early embryogenesis through adulthood.

  14. An ancient conserved role for prion protein in learning and memory

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Patricia L. A. Leighton

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available The misfolding of cellular prion protein (PrPC to form PrP Scrapie (PrPSc is an exemplar of toxic gain-of-function mechanisms inducing propagated protein misfolding and progressive devastating neurodegeneration. Despite this, PrPC function in the brain is also reduced and subverted during prion disease progression; thus understanding the normal function of PrPC in healthy brains is key. Disrupting PrPC in mice has led to a myriad of controversial functions that sometimes map onto disease symptoms, including a proposed role in memory or learning. Intriguingly, PrPC interaction with amyloid beta (Aβ oligomers at synapses has also linked its function to Alzheimer's disease and dementia in recent years. We set out to test the involvement of PrPC in memory using a disparate animal model, the zebrafish. Here we document an age-dependent memory decline in prp2−/− zebrafish, pointing to a conserved and ancient role of PrPC in memory. Specifically, we found that aged (3-year-old prp2−/− fish performed poorly in an object recognition task relative to age-matched prp2+/+ fish or 1-year-old prp2−/− fish. Further, using a novel object approach (NOA test, we found that aged (3-year-old prp2−/− fish approached the novel object more than either age-matched prp2+/+ fish or 1-year-old prp2−/− fish, but did not have decreased anxiety when we tested them in a novel tank diving test. Taken together, the results of the NOA and novel tank diving tests suggest an altered cognitive appraisal of the novel object in the 3-year-old prp2−/− fish. The learning paradigm established here enables a path forward to study PrPC interactions of relevance to Alzheimer's disease and prion diseases, and to screen for candidate therapeutics for these diseases. The findings underpin a need to consider the relative contributions of loss- versus gain-of-function of PrPC during Alzheimer's and prion diseases, and have implications upon the prospects of several

  15. Allowing for Psychosis to be Approachable and Understandable as a Human Experience: A Role for the Humanities in Psychotherapy Supervision.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leonhardt, Bethany L; Hamm, Jay A; Fogley, Rebecca L; Buck, Kelly D; Roe, David; Lysaker, Paul H

    2015-01-01

    Psychiatry and related mental health fields, in particular psychotherapy, have a long history of close ties with the humanities. That bond has weakened, however, over the last few decades as medicalized views of mental health and treatment have emerged. In this paper, we explore the potential of the reintroduction of the humanities, specifically novels and related literary genre, into the supervision of student clinicians working with clients who have psychosis. We believe that incorporation of novels and related literary genre into supervision can lead to unique and deepened understanding of the experience of psychosis, and can create an opportunity for a working therapeutic alliance. The potential mechanisms that create these unique opportunities to understand psychopathology are explored, and considerations for the implications for treatment, training, and future research are presented.

  16. Ssb1 chaperone is a [PSI+] prion-curing factor.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chacinska, A; Szczesniak, B; Kochneva-Pervukhova, N V; Kushnirov, V V; Ter-Avanesyan, M D; Boguta, M

    2001-04-01

    Yeast SUP7' or SUP11 nonsense suppressors have no phenotypic expression in strains deficient in the isopentenylation of A37 in tRNA. Here we show that such strains spontaneously produce cells with a nonsense suppressor phenotype which is related to the cytoplasmically inherited determinant and manifests all the key features of the [PSI+] prion. A screen of a multicopy yeast genomic library for genes that inactivate the [PSI+]-related suppressor phenotype resulted in the isolation of the SSB1 gene. Moreover, we demonstrate that multicopy plasmid encoding the Ssb1 chaperone cures cells of the [PSI+] prion.

  17. Prion diseases of the brain; Prionenerkrankung des Gehirns

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lutz, Kira; Urbach, Horst [Universitaetsklinik Freiburg (Germany). Klinik fuer Neuroradiologie

    2015-09-15

    The prion diseases of the brain, especially Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, are rare fatal neurodegenerative disorders. A definitive CJD diagnosis is currently only possible by a brain biopsy or post mortem autopsy. The diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is based on clinical signs, pathognomonic EEG, on typical MRI findings and the examination of the cerebrospinal fluid. Using the MRI the diagnosis Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease can be confirmed or excluded with high certainty. The MRI examination should contain diffusion-weighted and FLAIR imaging sequences. This review article provides an overview of the prion diseases of the brain with the corresponding imaging findings.

  18. Prions: Potential Threat to Mankind and Dental Implications

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ajay R Bhoosreddy

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Prion diseases are fatal, infectious, neurodegenerative disorders with special implications for infection control in the health care system. The causative agent is highly resistant to routine disinfection and sterilization processes and has been transmitted during health care interactions. Thus, it is important to use evidence gained through research and case reports to minimize risk of infection. There is no data suggesting that prions are transmitted easily during dental sittings but there remains a rare risk of such transmission if appropriate infection measures are not adhered to.

  19. Primate vocal communication: a useful tool for understanding human speech and language evolution?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fedurek, Pawel; Slocombe, Katie E

    2011-04-01

    Language is a uniquely human trait, and questions of how and why it evolved have been intriguing scientists for years. Nonhuman primates (primates) are our closest living relatives, and their behavior can be used to estimate the capacities of our extinct ancestors. As humans and many primate species rely on vocalizations as their primary mode of communication, the vocal behavior of primates has been an obvious target for studies investigating the evolutionary roots of human speech and language. By studying the similarities and differences between human and primate vocalizations, comparative research has the potential to clarify the evolutionary processes that shaped human speech and language. This review examines some of the seminal and recent studies that contribute to our knowledge regarding the link between primate calls and human language and speech. We focus on three main aspects of primate vocal behavior: functional reference, call combinations, and vocal learning. Studies in these areas indicate that despite important differences, primate vocal communication exhibits some key features characterizing human language. They also indicate, however, that some critical aspects of speech, such as vocal plasticity, are not shared with our primate cousins. We conclude that comparative research on primate vocal behavior is a very promising tool for deepening our understanding of the evolution of human speech and language, but much is still to be done as many aspects of monkey and ape vocalizations remain largely unexplored.

  20. Crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis of a specific VHH domain against mouse prion protein

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Abskharon, Romany N. N.; Soror, Sameh H.; Pardon, Els; El Hassan, Hassan; Legname, Giuseppe; Steyaert, Jan; Wohlkonig, Alexandre

    2010-01-01

    The crystallization of a specific nanobody against mouse PrP C and preliminary diffraction analysis of a crystal that diffracted to 1.23 Å resolution are presented. Prion disorders are infectious diseases that are characterized by the conversion of the cellular prion protein PrP C into the pathogenic isoform PrP Sc . Specific antibodies that interact with the cellular prion protein have been shown to inhibit this transition. Recombinant VHHs (variable domain of dromedary heavy-chain antibodies) or nanobodies are single-domain antibodies, making them the smallest antigen-binding fragments. A specific nanobody (Nb-PrP-01) was raised against mouse PrP C . A crystallization condition for this recombinant nanobody was identified using high-throughput screening. The crystals were optimized using streak-seeding and the hanging-drop method. The crystals belonged to the orthorhombic space group P2 1 2 1 2 1 , with unit-cell parameters a = 30.04, b = 37.15, c = 83.00 Å, and diffracted to 1.23 Å resolution using synchrotron radiation. The crystal structure of this specific nanobody against PrP C together with the known PrP C structure may help in understanding the PrP C /PrP Sc transition mechanism

  1. The contribution of different prion protein types and host polymorphisms to clinicopathological variations in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Head, Mark W; Ironside, James W

    2012-07-01

    Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that primarily affects the central nervous system. In this respect, it can be considered alongside the more frequently occurring neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is perhaps the paradigmatic protein misfolding disorder, so comparisons between the mechanisms involved in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and other neurodegenerative diseases associated with protein misfolding (such as the tauopathies and synucleinopathies) may also be informative. Like many of these diseases, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease occurs sporadically or can, more rarely, be associated with mutations. However, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease can also be acquired and is experimentally transmissible. These properties have had profound public health implications and made the disease of interest to virologists, in addition to those interested in protein misfolding disorders and neurodegeneration. The possible causes for the pronounced phenotypic variation among different forms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease are beginning to become understood, and these appear to depend in large measure on the genetics of the host (specifically the sequence of the prion protein gene, PRNP) and the epigenetic aspects of the agent (thought to be a misfolded and aggregated form of the PRNP gene product, termed a prion). This review will examine whether this model in its present form has sufficient complexity and subtlety to account for the clinicopathological variation evident in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and will outline the ways in which a more complete and informative molecular definition of human prions are currently being sought. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  2. 3D local structure around copper site of rabbit prion-related protein: Quantitative determination by XANES spectroscopy combined with multiple-scattering calculations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cui, P. X.; Lian, F. L.; Wang, Y.; Wen, Yi; Chu, W. S.; Zhao, H. F.; Zhang, S.; Li, J.; Lin, D. H.; Wu, Z. Y.

    2014-02-01

    Prion-related protein (PrP), a cell-surface copper-binding glycoprotein, is considered to be responsible for a number of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). The structural conversion of PrP from the normal cellular isoform (PrPC) to the post-translationally modified form (PrPSc) is thought to be relevant to Cu2+ binding to histidine residues. Rabbits are one of the few mammalian species that appear to be resistant to TSEs, because of the structural characteristics of the rabbit prion protein (RaPrPC) itself. Here we determined the three-dimensional local structure around the C-terminal high-affinity copper-binding sites using X-ray absorption near-edge structure combined with ab initio calculations in the framework of the multiple-scattering (MS) theory. Result shows that two amino acid resides, Gln97 and Met108, and two histidine residues, His95 and His110, are involved in binding this copper(II) ion. It might help us understand the roles of copper in prion conformation conversions, and the molecular mechanisms of prion-involved diseases.

  3. Exploring physical and chemical factors influencing the properties of recombinant prion protein and the real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) assay.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cheng, Keding; Sloan, Angela; Avery, Kristen M; Coulthart, Michael; Carpenter, Michael; Knox, J David

    2014-01-01

    Real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC), a highly specific and sensitive assay able to detect low levels of the disease-inducing isoform of the prion protein (PrP(d)) in brain tissue biopsies and cerebral spinal fluid, has great potential to become a method for diagnosing prion disease ante mortem. In order to standardize the assay method for routine analysis, an understanding of how physical and chemical factors affect the stability of the recombinant prion protein (rPrP) substrate and the RT-QuIC assay's sensitivity, specificity, and reproducibility is required. In this study, using sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease brain homogenate to seed the reactions and an in vitro-expressed recombinant prion protein, hamster rPrP, as the substrate, the following factors affecting the RT-QuIC assay were examined: salt and substrate concentrations, substrate storage, and pH. Results demonstrated that both the generation of the quality and quantities of rPrP substrate critical to the reaction, as well as the RT-QuIC reaction itself required strict adherence to specific physical and chemical conditions. Once optimized, the RT-QuIC assay was confirmed to be a very specific and sensitive assay method for sCJD detection. Findings in this study indicate that further optimization and standardization of RT-QuIC assay is required before it can be adopted as a routine diagnostic test.

  4. Prions spread via the autonomic nervous system from the gut to the central nervous system in cattle incubating bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoffmann, Christine; Ziegler, Ute; Buschmann, Anne; Weber, Artur; Kupfer, Leila; Oelschlegel, Anja; Hammerschmidt, Baerbel; Groschup, Martin H

    2007-03-01

    To elucidate the still-unknown pathogenesis of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), an oral BSE challenge and sequential kill study was carried out on 56 calves. Relevant tissues belonging to the peripheral and central nervous system, as well as to the lymphoreticular tract, from necropsied animals were analysed by highly sensitive immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting techniques to reveal the presence of BSE-associated pathological prion protein (PrPSc) depositions. Our results demonstrate two routes involving the autonomic nervous system through which BSE prions spread by anterograde pathways from the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) to the central nervous system (CNS): (i) via the coeliac and mesenteric ganglion complex, splanchnic nerves and the lumbal/caudal thoracic spinal cord (representing the sympathetic GIT innervation); and (ii) via the Nervus vagus (parasympathetic GIT innervation). The dorsal root ganglia seem to be subsequently affected, so it is likely that BSE prion invasion of the non-autonomic peripheral nervous system (e.g. sciatic nerve) is a secondary retrograde event following prion replication in the CNS. Moreover, BSE-associated PrPSc was already detected in the brainstem of an animal 24 months post-infection, which is 8 months earlier than reported previously. These findings are important for the understanding of BSE pathogenesis and for the development of new diagnostic strategies for this infectious disease.

  5. Translation of the prion protein mRNA is robust in astrocytes but does not amplify during reactive astrocytosis in the mouse brain.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Walker S Jackson

    Full Text Available Prion diseases induce neurodegeneration in specific brain areas for undetermined reasons. A thorough understanding of the localization of the disease-causing molecule, the prion protein (PrP, could inform on this issue but previous studies have generated conflicting conclusions. One of the more intriguing disagreements is whether PrP is synthesized by astrocytes. We developed a knock-in reporter mouse line in which the coding sequence of the PrP expressing gene (Prnp, was replaced with that for green fluorescent protein (GFP. Native GFP fluorescence intensity varied between and within brain regions. GFP was present in astrocytes but did not increase during reactive gliosis induced by scrapie prion infection. Therefore, reactive gliosis associated with prion diseases does not cause an acceleration of local PrP production. In addition to aiding in Prnp gene activity studies, this reporter mouse line will likely prove useful for analysis of chimeric animals produced by stem cell and tissue transplantation experiments.