WorldWideScience

Sample records for understanding human prion

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  2. Molecular Pathology of Human Prion Diseases

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Understanding the neurospecificity of Prion protein signaling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schneider, Benoit; Pietri, Mathea; Pradines, Elodie; Loubet, Damien; Launay, Jean-Marie; Kellermann, Odile; Mouillet-Richard, Sophie

    2011-01-01

    The cellular prion protein PrP(C) is the normal counterpart of the scrapie prion protein PrP(Sc), the main component of the infectious agent of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). It is a ubiquitous cell-surface glycoprotein, abundantly expressed in neurons, which constitute the targets of TSE pathogenesis. The presence of PrP(C) at the surface of neurons is an absolute requirement for the development of prion diseases and corruption of PrP(C) function(s) within an infectious context emerges as a proximal cause for PrP(Sc)-induced neurodegeneration. Experimental evidence gained over the past decade indicates that PrP(C) has the capacity to mobilize promiscuous signal transduction cascades that, notably, contribute to cell homeostasis. Beyond ubiquitous effectors, much data converge onto a neurospecificity of PrP(C) signaling, which may be the clue to neuronal cell demise in prion disorders. In this article, we highlight the requirement of PrP(C) for TSEs-associated neurodegeneration and review the current knowledge of PrP(C)-dependent signal transduction in neuronal cells and its implications for PrP(Sc)-mediated neurotoxicity.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. The Structure of Human Prions: From Biology to Structural Models — Considerations and Pitfalls

    Science.gov (United States)

    Acevedo-Morantes, Claudia Y.; Wille, Holger

    2014-01-01

    Prion diseases are a family of transmissible, progressive, and uniformly fatal neurodegenerative disorders that affect humans and animals. Although cross-species transmissions of prions are usually limited by an apparent “species barrier”, the spread of a prion disease to humans by ingestion of contaminated food, or via other routes of exposure, indicates that animal prions can pose a significant public health risk. The infectious agent responsible for the transmission of prion diseases is a misfolded conformer of the prion protein, PrPSc, a pathogenic isoform of the host-encoded, cellular prion protein, PrPC. The detailed mechanisms of prion conversion and replication, as well as the high-resolution structure of PrPSc, are unknown. This review will discuss the general background related to prion biology and assess the structural models proposed to date, while highlighting the experimental challenges of elucidating the structure of PrPSc. PMID:25333467

  9. Differential overexpression of SERPINA3 in human prion diseases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  10. Abnormal brain iron homeostasis in human and animal prion disorders.

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    Ajay Singh

    2009-03-01

    Full Text Available Neurotoxicity in all prion disorders is believed to result from the accumulation of PrP-scrapie (PrP(Sc, a beta-sheet rich isoform of a normal cell-surface glycoprotein, the prion protein (PrP(C. Limited reports suggest imbalance of brain iron homeostasis as a significant associated cause of neurotoxicity in prion-infected cell and mouse models. However, systematic studies on the generality of this phenomenon and the underlying mechanism(s leading to iron dyshomeostasis in diseased brains are lacking. In this report, we demonstrate that prion disease-affected human, hamster, and mouse brains show increased total and redox-active Fe (II iron, and a paradoxical increase in major iron uptake proteins transferrin (Tf and transferrin receptor (TfR at the end stage of disease. Furthermore, examination of scrapie-inoculated hamster brains at different timepoints following infection shows increased levels of Tf with time, suggesting increasing iron deficiency with disease progression. Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD-affected human brains show a similar increase in total iron and a direct correlation between PrP and Tf levels, implicating PrP(Sc as the underlying cause of iron deficiency. Increased binding of Tf to the cerebellar Purkinje cell neurons of sCJD brains further indicates upregulation of TfR and a phenotype of neuronal iron deficiency in diseased brains despite increased iron levels. The likely cause of this phenotype is sequestration of iron in brain ferritin that becomes detergent-insoluble in PrP(Sc-infected cell lines and sCJD brain homogenates. These results suggest that sequestration of iron in PrP(Sc-ferritin complexes induces a state of iron bio-insufficiency in prion disease-affected brains, resulting in increased uptake and a state of iron dyshomeostasis. An additional unexpected observation is the resistance of Tf to digestion by proteinase-K, providing a reliable marker for iron levels in postmortem human brains. These

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Prions

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    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

  14. Analyses of Protease Resistance and Aggregation State of Abnormal Prion Protein across the Spectrum of Human Prions*

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saverioni, Daniela; Notari, Silvio; Capellari, Sabina; Poggiolini, Ilaria; Giese, Armin; Kretzschmar, Hans A.; Parchi, Piero

    2013-01-01

    Prion diseases are characterized by tissue accumulation of a misfolded, β-sheet-enriched isoform (scrapie prion protein (PrPSc)) of the cellular prion protein (PrPC). At variance with PrPC, PrPSc shows a partial resistance to protease digestion and forms highly aggregated and detergent-insoluble polymers, two properties that have been consistently used to distinguish the two proteins. In recent years, however, the idea that PrPSc itself comprises heterogeneous species has grown. Most importantly, a putative proteinase K (PK)-sensitive form of PrPSc (sPrPSc) is being increasingly investigated for its possible role in prion infectivity, neurotoxicity, and strain variability. The study of sPrPSc, however, remains technically challenging because of the need of separating it from PrPC without using proteases. In this study, we have systematically analyzed both PK resistance and the aggregation state of purified PrPSc across the whole spectrum of the currently characterized human prion strains. The results show that PrPSc isolates manifest significant strain-specific differences in their PK digestion profile that are only partially explained by differences in the size of aggregates, suggesting that other factors, likely acting on PrPSc aggregate stability, determine its resistance to proteolysis. Fully protease-sensitive low molecular weight aggregates were detected in all isolates but in a limited proportion of the overall PrPSc (i.e. PrPSc in the biogenesis of prion strains. Finally, we highlight the limitations of current operational definitions of sPrPSc and of the quantitative analytical measurements that are not based on the isolation of a fully PK-sensitive PrPSc form. PMID:23897825

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  16. Genome-wide association study of behavioural and psychiatric features in human prion disease.

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    Thompson, A G B; Uphill, J; Lowe, J; Porter, M-C; Lukic, A; Carswell, C; Rudge, P; MacKay, A; Collinge, J; Mead, S

    2015-04-21

    Prion diseases are rare neurodegenerative conditions causing highly variable clinical syndromes, which often include prominent neuropsychiatric symptoms. We have recently carried out a clinical study of behavioural and psychiatric symptoms in a large prospective cohort of patients with prion disease in the United Kingdom, allowing us to operationalise specific behavioural/psychiatric phenotypes as traits in human prion disease. Here, we report exploratory genome-wide association analysis on 170 of these patients and 5200 UK controls, looking for single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with three behavioural/psychiatric phenotypes in the context of prion disease. We also specifically examined a selection of candidate SNPs that have shown genome-wide association with psychiatric conditions in previously published studies, and the codon 129 polymorphism of the prion protein gene, which is known to modify various aspects of the phenotype of prion disease. No SNPs reached genome-wide significance, and there was no evidence of altered burden of known psychiatric risk alleles in relevant prion cases. SNPs showing suggestive evidence of association (Ppsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. These include ANK3, SORL1 and a region of chromosome 6p containing several genes implicated in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. We would encourage others to acquire phenotype data in independent cohorts of patients with prion disease as well as other neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric conditions, to allow meta-analysis that may shed clearer light on the biological basis of these complex disease manifestations, and the diseases themselves.

  17. Current evidence on the transmissibility of chronic wasting disease prions to humans-A systematic review.

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    Waddell, L; Greig, J; Mascarenhas, M; Otten, A; Corrin, T; Hierlihy, K

    2018-02-01

    A number of prion diseases affect humans, including Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease; most of these are due to genetic mutations in the affected individual and occur sporadically, but some result from transmission of prion proteins from external sources. Of the known animal prion diseases, only bovine spongiform encephalopathy prions have been shown to be transmissible from animals to humans under non-experimental conditions. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a prion disease that affects cervids (e.g., deer and elk) in North America and isolated populations in Korea and Europe. Systematic review methodology was used to identify, select, critically appraise and analyse data from relevant research. Studies were evaluated for adherence to good conduct based on their study design following the Cochrane collaboration's approach to grading the quality of evidence and the strength of recommendations (GRADE). Twenty-three studies were included after screening 800 citations from the literature search and evaluating 78 full papers. Studies examined the transmissibility of CWD prions to humans using epidemiological study design, in vitro and in vivo experiments. Five epidemiological studies, two studies on macaques and seven studies on humanized transgenic mice provided no evidence to support the possibility of transmission of CWD prions to humans. Ongoing surveillance in the United States and Canada has not documented CWD transmission to humans. However, two studies on squirrel monkeys provided evidence that transmission of CWD prions resulting in prion disease is possible in these monkeys under experimental conditions and seven in vitro experiments provided evidence that CWD prions can convert human prion protein to a misfolded state. Therefore, future discovery of CWD transmission to humans cannot be entirely ruled out on the basis of current studies, particularly in the light of possible decades-long incubation periods for CWD prions in humans. It would be prudent to continue

  18. 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),

  19. Host Determinants of Prion Strain Diversity Independent of Prion Protein Genotype

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crowell, Jenna; Hughson, Andrew; Caughey, Byron

    2015-01-01

    the present study, we investigated prion diversity in two hosts species that express the same prion protein gene. While prior reports have demonstrated that prion strain properties are stable upon infection of the same host species and prion protein genotype, our findings indicate that certain prion strains can undergo dramatic changes in biological properties that are not dependent on the prion protein. Therefore, host factors independent of the prion protein can affect prion diversity. Understanding how host pathways can modify prion disease phenotypes may provide clues on how to alter prion formation and lead to treatments for prion, and other, human neurodegenerative diseases of protein misfolding. PMID:26246570

  20. 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

  1. Characterisation of new monoclonal antibodies reacting with prions from both human and animal brain tissues

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hvass, Henriette Cordes; Bergström, Ann-Louise; Ohm, Jakob

    2008-01-01

    -type mice and used for western blotting and immunohistochemistry to detect several types of human prion-disease associated PrPSc, including sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) (subtypes MM1 and V"), familial CJD and Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker (GSS) disease PrPSc as well as PrPSc of bovine......Post-mortem diagnosis of transmissible spongiform encephalopaties (prion diseases) is primarily based on the detection of a protease resistant, misfolded disease associated isoform (PrPSc) of the prion protein (PrPc) on neuronal cells. These methods depend on antibodies directed aganinst Pr...

  2. 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.

  3. Multiple folding pathways for heterologously expressed human prion protein.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jackson, G S; Hill, A F; Joseph, C; Hosszu, L; Power, A; Waltho, J P; Clarke, A R; Collinge, J

    1999-04-12

    Human PrP (residues 91-231) expressed in Escherichia coli can adopt several conformations in solution depending on pH, redox conditions and denaturant concentration. Oxidised PrP at neutral pH, with the disulphide bond intact, is a soluble monomer which contains 47% alpha-helix and corresponds to PrPC. Denaturation studies show that this structure has a relatively small, solvent-excluded core and unfolds to an unstructured state in a single, co-operative transition with a DeltaG for folding of -5.6 kcal mol-1. The unfolding behaviour is sensitive to pH and at 4.0 or below the molecule unfolds via a stable folding intermediate. This equilibrium intermediate has a reduced helical content and aggregates over several hours. When the disulphide bond is reduced the protein adopts different conformations depending upon pH. At neutral pH or above, the reduced protein has an alpha-helical fold, which is identical to that observed for the oxidised protein. At pH 4 or below, the conformation rearranges to a fold that contains a high proportion of beta-sheet structure. In the reduced state the alpha- and beta-forms are slowly inter-convertible whereas when oxidised the protein can only adopt an alpha-conformation in free solution. The data we present here shows that the human prion protein can exist in multiple conformations some of which are known to be capable of forming fibrils. The precise conformation that human PrP adopts and the pathways for unfolding are dependent upon solvent conditions. The conditions we examined are within the range that a protein may encounter in sub-cellular compartments and may have implications for the mechanism of conversion of PrPC to PrPSc in vivo. Since the conversion of PrPC to PrPSc is accompanied by a switch in secondary structure from alpha to beta, this system provides a useful model for studying major structural rearrangements in the prion protein.

  4. 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

  5. Neuroradiology of human prion diseases, diagnosis and differential diagnosis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gaudino, Simona; Gangemi, Emma; Colantonio, Raffaella; Botto, Annibale; Ruberto, Emanuela; Calandrelli, Rosalinda; Martucci, Matia; Vita, Maria Gabriella; Masullo, Carlo; Cerase, Alfonso; Colosimo, Cesare

    2017-05-01

    Human transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), or prion diseases, are invariably fatal conditions associated with a range of clinical presentations. TSEs are classified as sporadic [e.g. sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), which is the most frequent form], genetic (e.g. Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker disease, fatal familial insomnia, and inherited CJD), and acquired or infectious (e.g. Kuru, iatrogenic CJD, and variant CJD). In the past, brain imaging played a supporting role in the diagnosis of TSEs, whereas nowadays magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) plays such a prominent role that MRI findings have been included in the diagnostic criteria for sCJD. Currently, MRI is required for all patients with a clinical suspicion of TSEs. Thus, MRI semeiotics of TSEs should become part of the cultural baggage of any radiologist. The purposes of this update on the neuroradiology of CJD are to (i) review the pathophysiology and clinical presentation of TSEs, (ii) describe both typical and atypical MRI findings of CJD, and (iii) illustrate diseases mimicking CJD, underlining the MRI key findings useful in the differential diagnosis.

  6. Insights into Mechanisms of Transmission and Pathogenesis from Transgenic Mouse Models of Prion Diseases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moreno, Julie A; Telling, Glenn C

    2017-01-01

    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 (TSEs), which frequently occur as epidemics. An increasing body of evidence indicates that the canonical mechanism of conformational corruption of cellular prion protein (PrP C ) by the pathogenic isoform (PrP Sc ) that is the basis of prion formation in TSEs 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 interspecies 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 occurred

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laura Pirisinu

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available 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 protease-sensitive prionopathy (VPSPr is characterized not only by an atypical clinical phenotype and neuropathology but also by the deposition in the brain of a peculiar PrPSc. Like other forms of human prion disease, the pathogenesis of VPSPr also currently remains unclear. However, the findings of the peculiar features of prions from VPSPr and of the possible association of VPSPr with a known genetic prion disease linked with a valine to isoleucine mutation at residue 180 of PrP reported recently, may be of great importance in enhancing our understanding of not only this atypical human prion disease in particular, but also other prion diseases in general. In this review, we highlight the physicochemical and biological properties of prions from VPSPr and discuss the pathogenesis of VPSPr including the origin and formation of the peculiar prions.

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

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    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flego, Michela; Ascione, Alessandro; Zamboni, Silvia; Dupuis, Maria L; Imperiale, Valentina; Cianfriglia, Maurizio

    2007-01-01

    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. PMID:17605808

  10. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Chae; Haldiman, Tracy; Surewicz, Krystyna; Cohen, Yvonne; Chen, Wei; Blevins, Janis; Sy, Man-Sun; Cohen, Mark; Kong, Qingzhong; Telling, Glenn C; Surewicz, Witold K; Safar, Jiri G

    2012-01-01

    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.

  12. Small Protease Sensitive Oligomers of PrPSc in Distinct Human Prions Determine Conversion Rate of PrPC

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Chae; Haldiman, Tracy; Surewicz, Krystyna; Cohen, Yvonne; Chen, Wei; Blevins, Janis; Sy, Man-Sun; Cohen, Mark; Kong, Qingzhong; Telling, Glenn C.; Surewicz, Witold K.; Safar, Jiri G.

    2012-01-01

    The mammalian prions replicate by converting cellular prion protein (PrPC) into pathogenic conformational isoform (PrPSc). 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 PrPSc on conversion of PrPC in vitro using PrPSc 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) PrPSc. The smallest most potent prions present in sCJD brains were composed only of∼20 monomers of PrPSc. The tight correlation between conversion potency of small oligomers of human sPrPSc observed in vitro and duration of the disease suggests that sPrPSc conformers are an important determinant of prion strain characteristics that control the progression rate of the disease. PMID:22876179

  13. Sulphated glycosaminoglycans prevent the neurotoxicity of a human prion protein fragment.

    OpenAIRE

    Pérez, M; Wandosell, F; Colaço, C; Avila, J

    1998-01-01

    Although a number of features distinguish the disease isoform of the prion protein (PrPSc) from its normal cellular counterpart (PrPC) in the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), the neuropathogenesis of these diseases remains an enigma. The amyloid fibrils formed by fragments of human PrP have, however, been shown to be directly neurotoxic in vitro. We show here that sulphated polysaccharides (heparin, keratan and chondroitin) inhibit the neurotoxicity of these amyloid fibrils a...

  14. 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.

  15. Seeded fibrillation as molecular basis of the species barrier in human prion diseases.

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    Lars Luers

    Full Text Available Prion diseases are transmissible spongiform encephalopathies in humans and animals, including scrapie in sheep, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE in cattle, chronic wasting disease (CWD in deer, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD in humans. The hallmark of prion diseases is the conversion of the host-encoded prion protein (PrP(C to its pathological isoform PrP(Sc, which is accompanied by PrP fibrillation. Transmission is not restricted within one species, but can also occur between species. In some cases a species barrier can be observed that results in limited or unsuccessful transmission. The mechanism behind interspecies transmissibility or species barriers is not completely understood. To analyse this process at a molecular level, we previously established an in vitro fibrillation assay, in which recombinant PrP (recPrP as substrate can be specifically seeded by PrP(Sc as seed. Seeding with purified components, with no additional cellular components, is a direct consequence of the "prion-protein-only" hypothesis. We therefore hypothesise, that the species barrier is based on the interaction of PrP(C and PrP(Sc. Whereas in our earlier studies, the interspecies transmission in animal systems was analysed, the focus of this study lies on the transmission from animals to humans. We therefore combined seeds from species cattle, sheep and deer (BSE, scrapie, CWD with human recPrP. Homologous seeding served as a control. Our results are consistent with epidemiology, other in vitro aggregation studies, and bioassays investigating the transmission between humans, cattle, sheep, and deer. In contrast to CJD and BSE seeds, which show a seeding activity we can demonstrate a species barrier for seeds from scrapie and CWD in vitro. We could show that the seeding activity and therewith the molecular interaction of PrP as substrate and PrP(Sc as seed is sufficient to explain the phenomenon of species barriers. Therefore our data supports the hypothesis

  16. 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.

  17. How do PrPScPrions Spread between Host Species, and within Hosts?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mabbott, Neil A

    2017-11-24

    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 PrP Sc . 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 PrP Sc 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 PrP Sc 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 PrP Sc 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

    2013-10-11

    The unique phenotypic characteristics of mammalian prions are thought to be encoded in the conformation of pathogenic prion proteins (PrP(Sc)). 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 PrP(Sc) 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 PrP(Sc) particle types independently and leads to the competitive selection of those with lower initial conformational stability. In serial propagation with a nonglycosylated mutant PrP(C) substrate, the dominant PrP(Sc) 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 PrP(Sc) 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 PrP(Sc) conformers.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Treatment of Prion Disease with Heterologous Prion Proteins.

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    Pamela J Skinner

    Full Text Available Prion diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cattle, and scrapie in sheep are fatal neurodegenerative diseases for which there is no effective treatment. The pathology of these diseases involves the conversion of a protease sensitive form of the cellular prion protein (PrPC into a protease resistant infectious form (PrPsc or PrPres. Both in vitro (cell culture and cell free conversion assays and in vivo (animal studies have demonstrated the strong dependence of this conversion process on protein sequence homology between the initial prion inoculum and the host's own cellular prion protein. The presence of non-homologous (heterologous proteins is often inhibitory to this conversion process. We hypothesize that the presence of heterologous prion proteins from one species might therefore constitute an effective treatment for prion disease in another species. To test this hypothesis, we infected mice intracerebrally with murine adapted RML-Chandler scrapie and treated them with heterologous prion protein (purified bacterially expressed recombinant hamster prion protein or vehicle alone. Treated animals demonstrated reduced disease associated pathology, decreased accumulation of protease-resistant disease-associated prion protein, with delayed onset of clinical symptoms and motor deficits. This was concomitant with significantly increased survival times relative to mock-treated animals. These results provide proof of principle that recombinant hamster prion proteins can effectively and safely inhibit prion disease in mice, and suggest that hamster or other non-human prion proteins may be a viable treatment for prion diseases in humans.

  4. 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.

  5. Analysis of Conformational Stability of Abnormal Prion Protein Aggregates across the Spectrum of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Prions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cescatti, Maura; Saverioni, Daniela; Capellari, Sabina; Tagliavini, Fabrizio; Kitamoto, Tetsuyuki; Ironside, James; Giese, Armin

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT The wide phenotypic variability of prion diseases is thought to depend on the interaction of a host genotype with prion strains that have self-perpetuating biological properties enciphered in distinct conformations of the misfolded prion protein PrPSc. This concept is largely based on indirect approaches studying the effect of proteases or denaturing agents on the physicochemical properties of PrPSc aggregates. Furthermore, most data come from studies on rodent-adapted prion strains, making current understanding of the molecular basis of strains and phenotypic variability in naturally occurring diseases, especially in humans, more limited. To fill this gap, we studied the effects of guanidine hydrochloride (GdnHCl) and heating on PrPSc aggregates extracted from 60 sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and 6 variant CJD brains. While denaturation curves obtained after exposure of PrPSc to increasing GdnHCl concentrations showed similar profiles among the 7 CJD types analyzed, PrPSc exposure to increasing temperature revealed significantly different and type-specific responses. In particular, MM1 and VV2, the most prevalent and fast-replicating CJD types, showed stable and highly resistant PrPSc aggregates, whereas VV1, a rare and slowly propagating type, revealed unstable aggregates that easily dissolved at low temperature. Taken together, our results indicate that the molecular interactions mediating the aggregation state of PrPSc, possibly enciphering strain diversity, are differently targeted by GdnHCl, temperature, and proteases. Furthermore, the detected positive correlation between the thermostability of PrPSc aggregates and disease transmission efficiency makes inconsistent the proposed hypothesis that a decrease in conformational stability of prions results in an increase in their replication efficiency. IMPORTANCE Prion strains are defined as infectious isolates propagating distinctive phenotypic traits after transmission to syngeneic hosts

  6. 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.

  7. Sulphated glycosaminoglycans prevent the neurotoxicity of a human prion protein fragment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pérez, M; Wandosell, F; Colaço, C; Avila, J

    1998-10-15

    Although a number of features distinguish the disease isoform of the prion protein (PrPSc) from its normal cellular counterpart (PrPC) in the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), the neuropathogenesis of these diseases remains an enigma. The amyloid fibrils formed by fragments of human PrP have, however, been shown to be directly neurotoxic in vitro. We show here that sulphated polysaccharides (heparin, keratan and chondroitin) inhibit the neurotoxicity of these amyloid fibrils and this appears to be mediated via inhibition of the polymerization of the PrP peptide into fibrils. This provides a rationale for the therapeutic effects of sulphated polysaccharides and suggests a rapid in vitro functional screen for TSE therapeutics.

  8. 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.

  9. Protease-Sensitive Synthetic Prions

    OpenAIRE

    Colby, David W.; Wain, Rachel; Baskakov, Ilia V.; Legname, Giuseppe; Palmer, Christina G.; Nguyen, Hoang-Oanh B.; Lemus, Azucena; Cohen, Fred E.; DeArmond, Stephen J.; Prusiner, Stanley B.

    2010-01-01

    Prions arise when the cellular prion protein (PrPC) undergoes a self-propagating conformational change; the resulting infectious conformer is designated PrPSc. Frequently, PrPSc 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 no...

  10. Alpha-synuclein-immunoreactive deposits in human and animal prion diseases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haïk, S; Privat, N; Adjou, K T; Sazdovitch, V; Dormont, D; Duyckaerts, C; Hauw, J J

    2002-05-01

    Prion related disorders are associated with the accumulation of a misfolded isoform (PrPsc) of the host-encoded prion protein, PrP. There is strong evidence for the involvement of unidentified co-factors in the PrP to PrPsc conversion process. In this study, we show alpha-synuclein-immunoreactive deposits in the central nervous system of various prion diseases (sporadic, iatrogenic and new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob diseases, and experimental scrapie of hamsters). alpha-Synuclein accumulated close to PrPsc deposits but we did not observe strict colocalization of prion protein and alpha-synuclein immunoreactivities particularly in PrPsc plaques. alpha-Synuclein is thought to be a key player in some neurodegenerative disorders, is able to interact with amyloid structures and has known chaperone-like activities. Our results, in various prion diseases, suggest a role for alpha-synuclein in regulating PrPsc formation.

  11. 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

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    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.

  13. 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

  14. The cellular prion protein: a new partner of the lectin CBP70 in the nucleus of NB4 human promyelocytic leukemia cells.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rybner, C; Finel-Szermanski, S; Felin, M; Sahraoui, T; Rousseau, C; Fournier, J G; Sève, A P; Botti, J

    2002-01-01

    Prion diseases are characterized by the presence of an abnormal isoform of the cellular prion protein (PrPc) whose physiological role still remains elusive. To better understand the function of PrPc, it is important to identify the different subcellular localization(s) of the protein and the different partners with which it might be associated. In this context, the PrPc-lectins interactions are investigated because PrPc is a sialoglycoprotein which can react with lectins which are carbohydrate-binding proteins. We have previously characterized a nuclear lectin CBP70 able to recognize N-acetyl-beta-D-glucosamine residues in HL60 cells. Using confocal immunofluorescence, flow-cytofluorometry, and Western-blotting, we have found that PrPc is expressed in the nucleus of the NB4 human promyelocytic leukemia cell line. It was also found that the lectin CBP70 is localized in NB4 cell nuclei. Moreover, several approaches revealed that PrPc and CBP70 are colocalized in the nucleus. Immunoprecipitation experiments showed that these proteins are coprecipitated and interact via a sugar-dependent binding moiety. In conclusion, PrPc and CBP70 are colocalized in the nuclear compartment of NB4 cells and this interaction may be important to better understand the biological function and possibly the conversion process of PrPc into its pathological form (PrPsc). Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  15. Unique Properties of the Rabbit Prion Protein Oligomer.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ziyao Yu

    Full Text Available Prion diseases, also known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs, are a group of fatal neurodegenerative disorders infecting both humans and animals. Recent works have demonstrated that the soluble prion protein oligomer (PrPO, the intermediate of the conformational transformation from the host-derived cellular form (PrPC to the disease-associated Scrapie form (PrPSc, exerts the major neurotoxicity in vitro and in vivo. Rabbits show strong resistance to TSEs, the underlying mechanism is unclear to date. It is expected that the relative TSEs-resistance of rabbits is closely associated with the unique properties of rabbit prion protein oligomer which remain to be addressed in detail. In the present work, we prepared rabbit prion protein oligomer (recRaPrPO and human prion protein oligomer (recHuPrPO under varied conditions, analyzed the effects of pH, NaCl concentration and incubation temperature on the oligomerization, and compared the properties of recRaPrPO and recHuPrPO. We found that several factors facilitated the formation of prion protein oligomers, including low pH, high NaCl concentration, high incubation temperature and low conformational stability of monomeric prion protein. RecRaPrPO was formed more slowly than recHuPrPO at physiological-like conditions (< 57°C, < 150 mM NaCl. Furthermore, recRaPrPO possessed higher susceptibility to proteinase K and lower cytotoxicity in vitro than recHuPrPO. These unique properties of recRaPrPO might substantially contribute to the TSEs-resistance of rabbits. Our work sheds light on the oligomerization of prion proteins and is of benefit to mechanistic understanding of TSEs-resistance of rabbits.

  16. 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.

  17. Ethics in prion disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bechtel, Kendra; Geschwind, Michael D

    2013-11-01

    This paper is intended to discuss some of the scientific and ethical issues that are created by increased research efforts towards earlier diagnosis, as well as to treatment of, human prion diseases (and related dementias), including the resulting consequences for individuals, their families, and society. Most patients with prion disease currently are diagnosed when they are about 2/3 of the way through their disease course (Geschwind et al., 2010a; Paterson et al., 2012b), when the disease has progressed so far that even treatments that stop the disease process would probably have little benefit. Although there are currently no treatments available for prion diseases, we and others have realized that we must diagnose patients earlier and with greater accuracy so that future treatments have hope of success. As approximately 15% of prion diseases have a autosomal dominant genetic etiology, this further adds to the complexity of ethical issues, particularly regarding when to conduct genetic testing, release of genetic results, and when or if to implement experimental therapies. Human prion diseases are both infectious and transmissible; great care is required to balance the needs of the family and individual with both public health needs and strained hospital budgets. It is essential to proactively examine and address the ethical issues involved, as well as to define and in turn provide best standards of care. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. 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

  19. Assessment of prion reduction filters in decreasing infectivity of ultracentrifuged 263K scrapie-infected brain homogenates in "spiked" human blood and red blood cells.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cardone, Franco; Sowemimo-Coker, Samuel; Abdel-Haq, Hanin; Sbriccoli, Marco; Graziano, Silvia; Valanzano, Angelina; Berardi, Vito Angelo; Galeno, Roberta; Puopolo, Maria; Pocchiari, Maurizio

    2014-04-01

    The safety of red blood cells (RBCs) is of concern because of the occurrence of four transfusion-transmitted variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) cases in the United Kingdom. The absence of validated screening tests requires the use of procedures to remove prions from blood to minimize the risk of transmission. These procedures must be validated using infectious prions in a form that is as close as possible to one in blood. Units of human whole blood (WB) and RBCs were spiked with high-speed supernatants of 263K scrapie-infected hamster brain homogenates. Spiked samples were leukoreduced and then passed through prion-removing filters (Pall Corporation). In another experiment, RBCs from 263K scrapie-infected hamsters were treated as above, and residual infectivity was measured by bioassay. The overall removal of infectivity by the filters from prion-spiked WB and RBCs was approximately two orders of magnitude. No infectivity was detected in filtered hamster RBCs endogenously infected with scrapie. The use of prion-removing filters may help to reduce the risk of transfusion-transmitted vCJD. To avoid overestimation of prion removal efficiency in validation studies, it may be more appropriate to use supernates from ultracentrifugation of scrapie-infected hamster brain homogenate rather than the current standard brain homogenates. © 2013 American Association of Blood Banks.

  20. 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.

  1. Sympathetic Prions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Markus Glatzel

    2001-01-01

    Full Text Available Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies are a group of invariably fatal neurodegenerative diseases. The infectious agent is termed prion and is thought to be composed of a modified protein (PrPSc or PrPRES, a protease-resistant conformer of the normal host-encoded membrane glycoprotein, PrPC[1]. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, scrapie of sheep, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease are among the most notable transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Prions are most efficiently propagated trough intracerebral inoculation, yet the entry point of the infectious agent is often through peripheral sites like the gastrointestinal tract[2,3]. The process by which prions invade the brain is termed neuroinvasion[4]. We and others have speculated that, depending on the amount of infectious agent injected, the injection site, and the strain of prions employed, neuroinvasion can occur either directly via peripheral nerves or first through the lymphoreticular system and then via peripheral nerves[5].

  2. On the track of the white tiger: pigmentation could be linked to prion diseases, and location explains why.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Herrero Hernández, Elena

    2009-09-01

    Certain rodent pigmentation mutants spontaneously develop brain spongiform changes. It is hypothesized that animals, and possibly humans, characterized by certain pigmentation gene variants could be more susceptible to prion diseases, which are characterized by this type of neuropathology. This hypothesis could be explained by the common location of the prion protein and several important pigmentation genes in the same chromosome. This common location can promote the joint transfer of both pigmentary and prion protein genes to the progeny. Pigmentation genes could also play a role in regulating protein folding and aggregation. Understanding the relationship between pigmentation genes and prion genes could lead to identify pigmentation variants at higher risk of prion diseases and understand the etiopathogenesis of these still invariably lethal disorders.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.    

  5. Multifaceted role of sialylation in prion diseases

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ilia V Baskakov

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available Mammalian prion or PrPSc is a proteinaceous infectious agent that consists of a misfolded, self-replicating state of a sialoglycoprotein called the prion protein or PrPC. Sialylation of the prion protein N-linked glycans was discovered more than 30 years ago, yet the role of sialylation in prion pathogenesis remains poorly understood. Recent years have witnessed extraordinary growth in interest in sialylation and established a critical role for sialic acids in host invasion and host-pathogen interactions. This review article summarizes current knowledge on the role of sialylation of the prion protein in prion diseases. First, we discuss the correlation between sialylation of PrPSc glycans and prion infectivity and describe the factors that control sialylation of PrPSc. Second, we explain how glycan sialylation contributes to the prion replication barrier, defines strain-specific glycoform ratios and imposes constraints for PrPSc structure. Third, several topics, including a possible role for sialylation in animal-to-human prion transmission, prion lymphotropism, toxicity, strain interference and normal function of PrPC, are critically reviewed. Finally, a metabolic hypothesis on the role of sialylation in the etiology of sporadic prion diseases is proposed.

  6. Characterisation of new monoclonal antibodies reacting with prions from both human and animal brain tissues

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Cordes, H.; Bergstrom, A.L.; Ohm, J.

    2008-01-01

    Post-mortem diagnosis of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (prion diseases) is primarily based on the detection of a protease resistant, misfolded disease associated isoform (PrP(Sc)) of the prion protein (PrP(C)) on neuronal cells. These methods depend on antibodies directed against Pr...... spongiform encephalopathy (bovine brain), scrapie (ovine brain) and experimental scrapie in hamster and in mice. The antibodies were also used for PET-blotting in which PrP(Sc) blotted from brain tissue sections onto a nitrocellulose membrane is visualized with antibodies after protease and denaturant...

  7. 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

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

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    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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Dissociation of recombinant prion autocatalysis from infectivity

    OpenAIRE

    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 ...

  13. 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

  14. Prion Diseases

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... 2018, Bordeaux, France Use of Laboratory Animals in Infectious Disease Research , August 6, 2018 to August 7, 2018, Rocky Mountain Laboratories 903 South 4th Hamilton, Montana 59840 USA See all upcoming events Biology & Genetics Scientists are examining how abnormal prion protein molecules ...

  15. Ayurgenomics: Understanding human individuality through ...

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    mitali

    Ayurgenomics: Understanding human individuality through integration of. Ayurveda and Genomics for stratified medicine. Mitali Mukerji. Programme Director- CSIR-TRISUTRA. (Translational Research and Innovative Science Through Ayurgenomics). & Scientist CSIR-IGIB. Public health Modern medicine. Ayurveda others ...

  16. 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

  17. Prion removal capacity of plasma protein manufacturing processes: a data collection from PPTA member companies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cai, Kang; Gröner, Albrecht; Dichtelmüller, Herbert O; Fabbrizzi, Fabrizio; Flechsig, Eckhard; Gajardo, Rodrigo; von Hoegen, Ilka; Jorquera, Juan I; Kempf, Christoph; Kreil, Thomas R; Lee, Douglas C; Moscardini, Mila; Pölsler, Gerhard; Roth, Nathan J

    2013-09-01

    The variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease incidence peaked a decade ago and has since declined. Based on epidemiologic evidence, the causative agent, pathogenic prion, has not constituted a tangible contamination threat to large-scale manufacturing of human plasma-derived proteins. Nonetheless, manufacturers have studied the prion removal capabilities of various manufacturing steps to better understand product safety. Collectively analyzing the results could reveal experimental reproducibility and detect trends and mechanisms driving prion removal. Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association member companies collected more than 200 prion removal studies on plasma protein manufacturing steps, including precipitation, adsorption, chromatography, and filtration, as well as combined steps. The studies used a range of model spiking agents and bench-scale process replicas. The results were grouped based on key manufacturing variables to identify factors impacting removal. The log reduction values of a group are presented for comparison. Overall prion removal capacities evaluated by independent groups were in good agreement. The removal capacity evaluated using biochemical assays was consistent with prion infectivity removal measured by animal bioassays. Similar reduction values were observed for a given step using various spiking agents, except highly purified prion protein in some circumstances. Comparison between combined and single-step studies revealed complementary or overlapping removal mechanisms. Steps with high removal capacities represent the conditions where the physiochemical differences between prions and therapeutic proteins are most significant. The results support the intrinsic ability of certain plasma protein manufacturing steps to remove prions in case of an unlikely contamination, providing a safeguard to products. © 2012 American Association of Blood Banks.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. From Prion Diseases to Prion-Like Propagation Mechanisms of Neurodegenerative Diseases

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Isabelle Acquatella-Tran Van Ba

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative sporadic, inherited, or acquired disorders. In humans, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is the most studied prion disease. In animals, the most frequent prion diseases are scrapie in sheep and goat, bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cattle, and the emerging chronic wasting disease in wild and captive deer in North America. The hallmark of prion diseases is the deposition in the brain of PrPSc, an abnormal β-sheet-rich form of the cellular prion protein (PrPC (Prusiner 1982. According to the prion hypothesis, PrPSc can trigger the autocatalytic conversion of PrPC into PrPSc, presumably in the presence of cofactors (lipids and small RNAs that have been recently identified. In this review, we will come back to the original works that led to the discovery of prions and to the protein-only hypothesis proposed by Dr. Prusiner. We will then describe the recent reports on mammalian synthetic prions and recombinant prions that strongly support the protein-only hypothesis. The new concept of “deformed templating” regarding a new mechanism of PrPSc formation and replication will be exposed. The review will end with a chapter on the prion-like propagation of other neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and tauopathies.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. Prion Diseases and the Gastrointestinal Tract

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gwynivere A Davies

    2006-01-01

    Full Text Available The gastrointestinal (GI tract plays a central role in the pathogenesis of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. These are human and animal diseases that include bovine spongiform encephalopathy, scrapie and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. They are uniformly fatal neurological diseases, which are characterized by ataxia and vacuolation in the central nervous system. Alhough they are known to be caused by the conversion of normal cellular prion protein to its infectious conformational isoform (PrPsc the process by which this isoform is propagated and transported to the brain remains poorly understood. M cells, dendritic cells and possibly enteroendocrine cells are important in the movement of infectious prions across the GI epithelium. From there, PrPsc propagation requires B lymphocytes, dendritic cells and follicular dendritic cells of Peyer’s patches. The early accumulation of the disease-causing agent in the plexuses of the enteric nervous system supports the contention that the autonomic nervous system is important in disease transmission. This is further supported by the presence of PrPsc in the ganglia of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nerves that innervate the GI tract. Additionally, the lymphoreticular system has been implicated as the route of transmission from the gut to the brain. Although normal cellular prion protein is found in the enteric nervous system, its role has not been characterized. Further research is required to understand how the cellular components of the gut wall interact to propagate and transmit infectious prions to develop potential therapies that may prevent the progression of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies.

  6. Human prion diseases in the Netherlands (1998-2009: clinical, genetic and molecular aspects.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Casper Jansen

    Full Text Available Prion diseases are rare and fatal neurodegenerative disorders that can be sporadic, inherited or acquired by infection. Based on a national surveillance program in the Netherlands we describe here the clinical, neuropathological, genetic and molecular characteristics of 162 patients with neuropathologically confirmed prion disease over a 12-year period (1998-2009. Since 1998, there has been a relatively stable mortality of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD in the Netherlands, ranging from 0.63 to 1.53 per million inhabitants per annum. Genetic analysis of the codon 129 methionine/valine (M/V polymorphism in all patients with sporadic CJD (sCJD showed a trend for under-representation of VV cases (7.0%, compared with sCJD cohorts in other Western countries, whereas the MV genotype was relatively over-represented (22,4%. Combined PrP(Sc and histopathological typing identified all sCJD subtypes known to date, except for the VV1 subtype. In particular, a "pure" phenotype was demonstrated in 60.1% of patients, whereas a mixed phenotype was detected in 39.9% of all sCJD cases. The relative excess of MV cases was largely accounted for by a relatively high incidence of the MV 2K subtype. Genetic analysis of the prion protein gene (PRNP was performed in 161 patients and showed a mutation in 9 of them (5.6%, including one FFI and four GSS cases. Iatrogenic CJD was a rare phenomenon (3.1%, mainly associated with dura mater grafts. Three patients were diagnosed with new variant CJD (1.9% and one with variably protease-sensitive prionopathy (VPSPr. Post-mortem examination revealed an alternative diagnosis in 156 patients, most commonly Alzheimer's disease (21.2% or vascular causes of dementia (19.9%. The mortality rates of sCJD in the Netherlands are similar to those in other European countries, whereas iatrogenic and genetic cases are relatively rare. The unusual incidence of the VV2 sCJD subtype compared to that reported to date in other Western countries

  7. Human prion protein (PrP) 219K is converted to PrPSc but shows heterozygous inhibition in variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease infection.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hizume, Masaki; Kobayashi, Atsushi; Teruya, Kenta; Ohashi, Hiroaki; Ironside, James W; Mohri, Shirou; Kitamoto, Tetsuyuki

    2009-02-06

    Prion protein gene (PRNP) E219K is a human polymorphism commonly occurring in Asian populations but is rarely found in patients with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). Thus the polymorphism E219K has been considered protective against sporadic CJD. The corresponding mouse prion protein (PrP) polymorphism variant (mouse PrP 218K) is not converted to the abnormal isoform (PrP(Sc)) and shows a dominant negative effect on wild-type PrP conversion. To define the conversion activity of this human molecule, we herein established knock-in mice with human PrP 219K and performed a series of transmission experiments with human prions. Surprisingly, the human PrP 219K molecule was converted to PrP(Sc) in variant CJD infection, and the conversion occurred more efficiently than PrP 219E molecule. Notably the knock-in mice with PRNP codon 219E/K showed the least efficient conversion compared with their hemizygotes with PRNP codon 219E/0 or codon 219K/0, or homozygotes with PRNP codon 219E/E or codon 219K/K. This phenomenon indicated heterozygous inhibition. This heterozygous inhibition was observed also in knock-in mice with PRNP codon 129M/V genotype. In addition to variant CJD infection, the human PrP 219K molecule is conversion-competent in transmission experiments with sporadic CJD prions. Therefore, the protective effect of PRNP E219K against sporadic CJD might be due to heterozygous inhibition.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  9. Direct detection of soil-bound prions.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  10. Doppel-induced cytotoxicity in human neuronal SH-SY5Y cells is antagonized by the prion protein.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Ping; Dong, Chenfang; Lei, Yanjun; Shan, Bing; Xiao, Xinli; Jiang, Huiying; Wang, Xin; Gao, Chen; Shi, Qi; Xu, Kun; Tian, Chan; Han, Jun; Dong, Xiaoping

    2009-01-01

    Doppel (Dpl) is a prion (PrP)-like protein due to the structural and biochemical similarities; however, the natural functions of Dpl and PrP remain unclear. In this study, a 531-bp human PRND gene sequence encoding Dpl protein was amplified from human peripheral blood leucocytes. Full-length and various truncated human Dpl and PrP proteins were expressed and purified from Escherichia coli. Supplement of the full-length Dpl onto human neuroblastoma cell SH-SY5Y induced remarkable cytotoxicity, and the region responsible for its cytotoxicity was mapped at the middle segment of Dpl [amino acids (aa) 81-122]. Interestingly, Dpl-induced cytotoxicity was antagonized by the presence of fulllength wild-type PrP. Analysis on fragments of PrP mutants showed that the N-terminal fragment (aa 23- 90) of PrP was responsible for the protective activity. A truncated PrP (PrPdelta32-121) with similar secondary structure as Dpl induced Dpl-like cytotoxicity on SHSY5Y cells. Furthermore, binding of copper ion could enhance the antagonizing effect of PrP on Dpl-induced cytotoxicity. Apoptosis assays revealed that cytotoxicity induced by Dpl occurred through an apoptotic mechanism. These results suggested that the function of Dpl is antagonistic to PrP rather than synergistic.

  11. Understanding individual human mobility patterns.

    Science.gov (United States)

    González, Marta C; Hidalgo, César A; Barabási, Albert-László

    2008-06-05

    Despite their importance for urban planning, traffic forecasting and the spread of biological and mobile viruses, our understanding of the basic laws governing human motion remains limited owing to the lack of tools to monitor the time-resolved location of individuals. Here we study the trajectory of 100,000 anonymized mobile phone users whose position is tracked for a six-month period. We find that, in contrast with the random trajectories predicted by the prevailing Lévy flight and random walk models, human trajectories show a high degree of temporal and spatial regularity, each individual being characterized by a time-independent characteristic travel distance and a significant probability to return to a few highly frequented locations. After correcting for differences in travel distances and the inherent anisotropy of each trajectory, the individual travel patterns collapse into a single spatial probability distribution, indicating that, despite the diversity of their travel history, humans follow simple reproducible patterns. This inherent similarity in travel patterns could impact all phenomena driven by human mobility, from epidemic prevention to emergency response, urban planning and agent-based modelling.

  12. Characterization of physiochemical properties of caveolin-1 from normal and prion-infected human brains.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xiao, Xiangzhu; Shen, Pingping; Wang, Zerui; Dang, Johnny; Adornato, Alise; Zou, Lewis S; Dong, Zhiqian; Yuan, Jue; Feng, Jiachun; Cui, Li; Zou, Wen-Quan

    2017-08-15

    Caveolin-1 is a major component protein of the caveolae-a type of flask shaped, 50-100 nm, nonclathrin-coated, microdomain present in the plasma membrane of most mammalian cells. Caveolin-1 functions as a scaffolding protein to organize and concentrate signaling molecules within the caveolae, which may be associated with its unique physicochemical properties including oligomerization, acquisition of detergent insolubility, and association with cholesterol. Here we demonstrate that caveolin-1 is detected in all brain areas examined and recovered in both detergent-soluble and -insoluble fractions. Surprisingly, the recovered molecules from the two different fractions share a similar molecular size ranging from 200 to 2,000 kDa, indicated by gel filtration. Furthermore, both soluble and insoluble caveolin-1 molecules generate a proteinase K (PK)-resistant C-terminal core fragment upon the PK-treatment, by removing ˜36 amino acids from the N-terminus of the protein. Although it recognizes caveolin-1 from A431 cell lysate, an antibody against the C-terminus of caveolin-1 fails to detect the brain protein by Western blotting, suggesting that the epitope in the brain caveolin-1 is concealed. No significant differences in the physicochemical properties of caveolin-1 between uninfected and prion-infected brains are observed.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  15. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy induces misfolding of alleged prion-resistant species cellular prion protein without altering its pathobiological features.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vidal, Enric; Fernández-Borges, Natalia; Pintado, Belén; Ordóñez, Montserrat; Márquez, Mercedes; Fondevila, Dolors; Torres, Juan María; Pumarola, Martí; Castilla, Joaquín

    2013-05-01

    Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) prions were responsible for an unforeseen epizootic in cattle which had a vast social, economic, and public health impact. This was primarily because BSE prions were found to be transmissible to humans. Other species were also susceptible to BSE either by natural infection (e.g., felids, caprids) or in experimental settings (e.g., sheep, mice). However, certain species closely related to humans, such as canids and leporids, were apparently resistant to BSE. In vitro prion amplification techniques (saPMCA) were used to successfully misfold the cellular prion protein (PrP(c)) of these allegedly resistant species into a BSE-type prion protein. The biochemical and biological properties of the new prions generated in vitro after seeding rabbit and dog brain homogenates with classical BSE were studied. Pathobiological features of the resultant prion strains were determined after their inoculation into transgenic mice expressing bovine and human PrP(C). Strain characteristics of the in vitro-adapted rabbit and dog BSE agent remained invariable with respect to the original cattle BSE prion, suggesting that the naturally low susceptibility of rabbits and dogs to prion infections should not alter their zoonotic potential if these animals became infected with BSE. This study provides a sound basis for risk assessment regarding prion diseases in purportedly resistant species.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  17. Methods for Differentiating Prion Types in Food-Producing Animals

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    Kevin C. Gough

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available Prions are an enigma amongst infectious disease agents as they lack a genome yet confer specific pathologies thought to be dictated mainly, if not solely, by the conformation of the disease form of the prion protein (PrPSc. Prion diseases affect humans and animals, the latter including the food-producing ruminant species cattle, sheep, goats and deer. Importantly, it has been shown that the disease agent of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE is zoonotic, causing variant Creutzfeldt Jakob disease (vCJD in humans. Current diagnostic tests can distinguish different prion types and in food-producing animals these focus on the differentiation of BSE from the non-zoonotic agents. Whilst BSE cases are now rare, atypical forms of both scrapie and BSE have been reported, as well as two types of chronic wasting disease (CWD in cervids. Typing of animal prion isolates remains an important aspect of prion diagnosis and is now becoming more focused on identifying the range of prion types that are present in food-producing animals and also developing tests that can screen for emerging, novel prion diseases. Here, we review prion typing methodologies in light of current and emerging prion types in food-producing animals.

  18. Methods for Differentiating Prion Types in Food-Producing Animals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gough, Kevin C.; Rees, Helen C.; Ives, Sarah E.; Maddison, Ben C.

    2015-01-01

    Prions are an enigma amongst infectious disease agents as they lack a genome yet confer specific pathologies thought to be dictated mainly, if not solely, by the conformation of the disease form of the prion protein (PrPSc). Prion diseases affect humans and animals, the latter including the food-producing ruminant species cattle, sheep, goats and deer. Importantly, it has been shown that the disease agent of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is zoonotic, causing variant Creutzfeldt Jakob disease (vCJD) in humans. Current diagnostic tests can distinguish different prion types and in food-producing animals these focus on the differentiation of BSE from the non-zoonotic agents. Whilst BSE cases are now rare, atypical forms of both scrapie and BSE have been reported, as well as two types of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in cervids. Typing of animal prion isolates remains an important aspect of prion diagnosis and is now becoming more focused on identifying the range of prion types that are present in food-producing animals and also developing tests that can screen for emerging, novel prion diseases. Here, we review prion typing methodologies in light of current and emerging prion types in food-producing animals. PMID:26580664

  19. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

  1. Efficient prion disease transmission through common environmental materials.

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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)

  4. Destabilizing polymorphism in cervid prion protein hydrophobic core determines prion conformation and conversion efficiency.

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    Samia Hannaoui

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Prion diseases are infectious neurodegenerative disorders of humans and animals caused by misfolded forms of the cellular prion protein PrPC. Prions cause disease by converting PrPC into aggregation-prone PrPSc. Chronic wasting disease (CWD is the most contagious prion disease with substantial lateral transmission, affecting free-ranging and farmed cervids. Although the PrP primary structure is highly conserved among cervids, the disease phenotype can be modulated by species-specific polymorphisms in the prion protein gene. How the resulting amino-acid substitutions impact PrPC and PrPSc structure and propagation is poorly understood. We investigated the effects of the cervid 116A>G substitution, located in the most conserved PrP domain, on PrPC structure and conversion and on 116AG-prion conformation and infectivity. Molecular dynamics simulations revealed structural de-stabilization of 116G-PrP, which enhanced its in vitro conversion efficiency when used as recombinant PrP substrate in real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC. We demonstrate that 116AG-prions are conformationally less stable, show lower activity as a seed in RT-QuIC and exhibit reduced infectivity in vitro and in vivo. Infectivity of 116AG-prions was significantly enhanced upon secondary passage in mice, yet conformational features were retained. These findings indicate that structurally de-stabilized PrPC is readily convertible by cervid prions of different genetic background and results in a prion conformation adaptable to cervid wild-type PrP. Conformation is an important criterion when assessing transmission barrier, and conformational variants can target a different host range. Therefore, a thorough analysis of CWD isolates and re-assessment of species-barriers is important in order to fully exclude a zoonotic potential of CWD.

  5. 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.

  6. Human prion disease with a G114V mutation and epidemiological studies in a Chinese family: a case series

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ye Jing

    2008-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Introduction Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies are a group of neurodegenerative diseases of humans and animals. Genetic Creutzfeldt-Jakob diseases, in which mutations in the PRNP gene predispose to disease by causing the expression of abnormal PrP protein, include familial Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker syndrome and fatal familial insomnia. Case presentation A 47-year-old Han-Chinese woman was hospitalized with a 2-year history of progressive dementia, tiredness, lethargy and mild difficulty in falling asleep. On neurological examination, there was severe apathy, spontaneous myoclonus of the lower limbs, generalized hyperreflexia and bilateral Babinski signs. A missense mutation (T to G was identified at the position of nt 341 in one PRNP allele, leading to a change from glycine (Gly to valine (Val at codon 114. PK-resistant PrPSc was detected in brain tissues by Western blotting and immunohistochemical assays. Information on pedigree was collected notably by interviews with family members. A further four suspected patients in five consecutive generations of the family have been identified. One of them was hospitalized for progressive memory impairment at the age of 32. On examination, he had impairment of memory, calculation and comprehension, mild ataxia of the limbs, tremor and a left Babinski sign. He is still alive. Conclusion This family with G114V inherited prion disease is the first to be described in China and represents the second family worldwide in which this mutation has been identified. Three other suspected cases have been retrospectively identified in this family, and a further case with suggestive clinical manifestations has been shown by gene sequencing to have the causal mutation.

  7. 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.

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    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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. Prion diseases: immunotargets and therapy

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    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

  11. Prion Protein Misfolding, Strains, and Neurotoxicity: An Update from Studies on Mammalian Prions

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    Ilaria Poggiolini

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Prion diseases, also known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs, are a group of fatal neurodegenerative disorders affecting humans and other mammalian species. The central event in TSE pathogenesis is the conformational conversion of the cellular prion protein, PrPC, into the aggregate, β-sheet rich, amyloidogenic form, PrPSc. Increasing evidence indicates that distinct PrPSc conformers, forming distinct ordered aggregates, can encipher the phenotypic TSE variants related to prion strains. Prion strains are TSE isolates that, after inoculation into syngenic hosts, cause disease with distinct characteristics, such as incubation period, pattern of PrPSc distribution, and regional severity of histopathological changes in the brain. In analogy with other amyloid forming proteins, PrPSc toxicity is thought to derive from the existence of various intermediate structures prior to the amyloid fiber formation and/or their specific interaction with membranes. The latter appears particularly relevant for the pathogenesis of TSEs associated with GPI-anchored PrPSc, which involves major cellular membrane distortions in neurons. In this review, we update the current knowledge on the molecular mechanisms underlying three fundamental aspects of the basic biology of prions such as the putative mechanism of prion protein conversion to the pathogenic form PrPSc and its propagation, the molecular basis of prion strains, and the mechanism of induced neurotoxicity by PrPSc aggregates.

  12. Probing the dynamics of prion diseases with amphotericin B.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adjou, K T; Deslys, J P; Demaimay, R; Dormont, D

    1997-01-01

    Amphotericin B (AmB) is one of the rare drugs that affect the course of experimental prion diseases and modify the kinetics of abnormal prion protein accumulation in the central nervous system. Therefore, AmB could be used as a pharmacological tool to contribute to our understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms involved in these neurodegenerative disorders.

  13. Prospects for safe and effective vaccines against prion diseases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mabbott, Neil Andrew

    2015-01-01

    Prion diseases are subacute neurodegenerative diseases that affect humans and animals. An abnormally folded isoform (PrP(Sc)) of the host cellular prion protein is considered to constitute the major, if not sole, component of the infectious prion. The occurrence of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans most likely arose due to consumption of food contaminated with bovine spongiform encephalopathy prions. The demonstration that some prion infections may have the capacity to transmit to other species, especially humans, has focused attention on the development of safe and effective vaccines against these invariably fatal and currently incurable diseases. Although much effort has been invested in the development of safe and effective anti-PrP vaccines, many important issues remain to be resolved.

  14. An acoustic prion assay

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    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

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

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    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.

  16. Understanding the Societal Impact of Humanities Scholarship

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pedersen, David Budtz; Johansson, Lasse Gøhler

    2016-01-01

    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...... in an incomplete and hence misleading picture of research outcomes and their causality. In this paper, I explore how the emerging research impact agenda is embarking on the humanities and which tools and frameworks are available for tracing and mapping the impact of humanities breakthroughs in society. Examining...... 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...

  17. Prions and animal transmissible spongiform encephalopathies

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    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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

    2016-01-01

    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 PrPSc. Our data show that these strains have different profiles of PrP deposition along the brain. These patterns of accumulation, which were independent of regional PrPC 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 PrPC present in each part of the brain. Our results suggest that the variable regional distribution of PrPSc 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. PMID:27056328

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mays, Charles E.; Kim, Chae; Haldiman, Tracy; van der Merwe, Jacques; Lau, Agnes; Yang, Jing; Grams, Jennifer; Di Bari, Michele A.; Nonno, Romolo; Telling, Glenn C.; Kong, Qingzhong; Langeveld, Jan; McKenzie, Debbie; Westaway, David; Safar, Jiri 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 (Sho) glycoprotein. Given the overlapping cellular environments for PrPC and Sho, we inferred that PrPC levels might also be altered as part of a host response during prion infection. Using rodent models, we found that, in addition to changes in PrPC glycosylation and proteolytic processing, net reductions in PrPC occur in a wide range of prion diseases, including sheep scrapie, human Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and cervid chronic wasting disease. The reduction in PrPC results in decreased prion replication, as measured by the protein misfolding cyclic amplification technique for generating PrPSc in vitro. While PrPC downregulation is not discernible in animals with unusually short incubation periods and high PrPC expression, slowly evolving prion infections exhibit downregulation of the PrPC substrate required for new PrPSc synthesis and as a receptor for pathogenic signaling. Our data reveal PrPC downregulation as a previously unappreciated element of disease pathogenesis that defines the extensive, presymptomatic period for many prion strains. PMID:24430187

  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. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. Targeting the endoplasmic reticulum in prion disease treatment: breakthroughs and challenges

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kanemoto S

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Soshi Kanemoto Department of Biochemistry, Institute of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan Abstract: Prion diseases are infectious, predominantly fatal neurodegenerative diseases characterized by abnormal prion protein (PrP accumulation and neuronal loss. Studies on experimental animal models and clinical features of human prion diseases have shown unfolded PrP accumulation results in endoplasmic reticulum (ER stress. While ER stress-mediated apoptosis is responsible for neuronal loss in prion diseases, ER stress also activates the unfolded protein response (UPR in an effort to restore ER homeostasis. Of the UPR signaling pathways, the PERK-eIF2α pathway is implicated in the pathogenesis of prion diseases. The proteasome protein degradation system is also activated during the UPR. Increasing evidence indicates that proteasome and autophagy activities are affected in prion diseases. These findings suggest that ER stress/UPR contributes to the onset of prion diseases. Hence, strategies that target the ER are useful approaches in treating prion diseases. Additionally, immunotherapeutic approaches for prion diseases have been developed in recent decades. Single-chain fragment variable antibodies targeting the accumulation of PrP are also beneficial in the prevention of abnormal PrP propagation. This review discusses pathogenic mechanisms related to the ER and potential strategies for treating prion diseases. Keywords: prion, endoplasmic reticulum, unfolded protein response, therapy

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Genetic approaches to understanding human obesity

    OpenAIRE

    Ramachandrappa, Shwetha; Farooqi, I. Sadaf

    2011-01-01

    Obesity and its associated comorbidities represent one of the biggest public health challenges facing the world today. The heritability of body weight is high, and genetic variation plays a major role in determining the interindividual differences in susceptibility or resistance to the obesogenic environment. Here we discuss how genetic studies in humans have contributed to our understanding of the central ...

  11. 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

  12. Biochemical Characterization of Prion Strains in Bank Voles

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Romolo Nonno

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available Prions exist as different strains exhibiting distinct disease phenotypes. Currently, the identification of prion strains is still based on biological strain typing in rodents. However, it has been shown that prion strains may be associated with distinct PrPSc biochemical types. Taking advantage of the availability of several prion strains adapted to a novel rodent model, the bank vole, we investigated if any prion strain was actually associated with distinctive PrPSc biochemical characteristics and if it was possible to univocally identify strains through PrPSc biochemical phenotypes. We selected six different vole-adapted strains (three human-derived and three animal-derived and analyzed PrPSc from individual voles by epitope mapping of protease resistant core of PrPSc (PrPres and by conformational stability and solubility assay. Overall, we discriminated five out of six prion strains, while two different scrapie strains showed identical PrPSc types. Our results suggest that the biochemical strain typing approach here proposed was highly discriminative, although by itself it did not allow us to identify all prion strains analyzed.

  13. Calcineurin inhibition at the clinical phase of prion disease reduces neurodegeneration, improves behavioral alterations and increases animal survival.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Abhisek Mukherjee

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative disorders characterized by a long pre-symptomatic phase followed by rapid and progressive clinical phase. Although rare in humans, the unconventional infectious nature of the disease raises the potential for an epidemic. Unfortunately, no treatment is currently available. The hallmark event in prion diseases is the accumulation of a misfolded and infectious form of the prion protein (PrP(Sc. Previous reports have shown that PrP(Sc induces endoplasmic reticulum stress and changes in calcium homeostasis in the brain of affected individuals. In this study we show that the calcium-dependent phosphatase Calcineurin (CaN is hyperactivated both in vitro and in vivo as a result of PrP(Sc formation. CaN activation mediates prion-induced neurodegeneration, suggesting that inhibition of this phosphatase could be a target for therapy. To test this hypothesis, prion infected wild type mice were treated intra-peritoneally with the CaN inhibitor FK506 at the clinical phase of the disease. Treated animals exhibited reduced severity of the clinical abnormalities and increased survival time compared to vehicle treated controls. Treatment also led to a significant increase in the brain levels of the CaN downstream targets pCREB and pBAD, which paralleled the decrease of CaN activity. Importantly, we observed a lower degree of neurodegeneration in animals treated with the drug as revealed by a higher number of neurons and a lower quantity of degenerating nerve cells. These changes were not dependent on PrP(Sc formation, since the protein accumulated in the brain to the same levels as in the untreated mice. Our findings contribute to an understanding of the mechanism of neurodegeneration in prion diseases and more importantly may provide a novel strategy for therapy that is beneficial at the clinical phase of the disease.

  14. Revising the human mutation rate: implications for understanding human evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scally, Aylwyn; Durbin, Richard

    2012-10-01

    It is now possible to make direct measurements of the mutation rate in modern humans using next-generation sequencing. These measurements reveal a value that is approximately half of that previously derived from fossil calibration, and this has implications for our understanding of demographic events in human evolution and other aspects of population genetics. Here, we discuss the implications of a lower-than-expected mutation rate in relation to the timescale of human evolution.

  15. Predictive Navigation by Understanding Human Motion Patterns

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shu-Yun Chung

    2011-03-01

    Full Text Available To make robots coexist and share the environments with humans, robots should understand the behaviors or the intentions of humans and further predict their motions. In this paper, an A*-based predictive motion planner is represented for navigation tasks. A generalized pedestrian motion model is proposed and trained by the statistical learning method. To deal with the uncertainty, a localization, tracking and prediction framework is also introduced. The corresponding recursive Bayesian formula represented as DBNs (Dynamic Bayesian Networks is derived for real time operation. Finally, the simulations and experiments are shown to validate the idea of this paper.

  16. 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

  17. Mouse models for understanding human developmental anomalies

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    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.

  18. Conceptual premises for understanding the human security

    OpenAIRE

    Bogdan Ștefanachi

    2012-01-01

    In the framework of globalization, it is possible to conceive an alternative discourse regarding the statute of individual in international relations. This new narrative – a post-positivist one – transforms the individual in the referent object of security. The study stresses the main theoretical transformations appeared within the post-positivist framework of analysis in order to identify the central components of the new understanding of security – human security.

  19. Conceptual premises for understanding the human security

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bogdan Ștefanachi

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available In the framework of globalization, it is possible to conceive an alternative discourse regarding the statute of individual in international relations. This new narrative – a post-positivist one – transforms the individual in the referent object of security. The study stresses the main theoretical transformations appeared within the post-positivist framework of analysis in order to identify the central components of the new understanding of security – human security.

  20. 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.

  1. Analysis of prion strains by PrPSc profiling in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gaby Schoch

    2006-02-01

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Prion diseases are a group of invariably fatal neurodegenerative disorders affecting humans and a wide range of mammals. An essential part of the infectious agent, termed the prion, is composed of an abnormal isoform (PrPSc of a host-encoded normal cellular protein (PrPC. The conversion of PrPC to PrPSc is thought to play a crucial role in the development of prion diseases and leads to PrPSc deposition, mainly in the central nervous system. Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD, the most common form of human prion disease, presents with a marked clinical heterogeneity. This diversity is accompanied by a molecular signature which can be defined by histological, biochemical, and genetic means. The molecular classification of sCJD is an important tool to aid in the understanding of underlying disease mechanisms and the development of therapy protocols. Comparability of classifications is hampered by disparity of applied methods and inter-observer variability. METHODS AND FINDINGS: To overcome these difficulties, we developed a new quantification protocol for PrPSc by using internal standards on each Western blot, which allows for generation and direct comparison of individual PrPSc profiles. By studying PrPSc profiles and PrPSc type expression within nine defined central nervous system areas of 50 patients with sCJD, we were able to show distinct PrPSc distribution patterns in diverse subtypes of sCJD. Furthermore, we were able to demonstrate the co-existence of more than one PrPSc type in individuals with sCJD in about 20% of all patients and in more than 50% of patients heterozygous for a polymorphism on codon 129 of the gene encoding the prion protein (PRNP. CONCLUSION: PrPSc profiling represents a valuable tool for the molecular classification of human prion diseases and has important implications for their diagnosis by brain biopsy. Our results show that the co-existence of more than one PrPSc type might be influenced by genetic

  2. Analysis of prion strains by PrPSc profiling in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schoch, Gaby; Seeger, Harald; Bogousslavsky, Julien; Tolnay, Markus; Janzer, Robert Charles; Aguzzi, Adriano; Glatzel, Markus

    2006-02-01

    Prion diseases are a group of invariably fatal neurodegenerative disorders affecting humans and a wide range of mammals. An essential part of the infectious agent, termed the prion, is composed of an abnormal isoform (PrPSc) of a host-encoded normal cellular protein (PrPC). The conversion of PrPC to PrPSc is thought to play a crucial role in the development of prion diseases and leads to PrPSc deposition, mainly in the central nervous system. Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), the most common form of human prion disease, presents with a marked clinical heterogeneity. This diversity is accompanied by a molecular signature which can be defined by histological, biochemical, and genetic means. The molecular classification of sCJD is an important tool to aid in the understanding of underlying disease mechanisms and the development of therapy protocols. Comparability of classifications is hampered by disparity of applied methods and inter-observer variability. To overcome these difficulties, we developed a new quantification protocol for PrPSc by using internal standards on each Western blot, which allows for generation and direct comparison of individual PrPSc profiles. By studying PrPSc profiles and PrPSc type expression within nine defined central nervous system areas of 50 patients with sCJD, we were able to show distinct PrPSc distribution patterns in diverse subtypes of sCJD. Furthermore, we were able to demonstrate the co-existence of more than one PrPSc type in individuals with sCJD in about 20% of all patients and in more than 50% of patients heterozygous for a polymorphism on codon 129 of the gene encoding the prion protein (PRNP). PrPSc profiling represents a valuable tool for the molecular classification of human prion diseases and has important implications for their diagnosis by brain biopsy. Our results show that the co-existence of more than one PrPSc type might be influenced by genetic and brain region-specific determinants. These findings

  3. 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

  4. Genetic approaches to understanding human obesity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ramachandrappa, Shwetha; Farooqi, I Sadaf

    2011-06-01

    Obesity and its associated comorbidities represent one of the biggest public health challenges facing the world today. The heritability of body weight is high, and genetic variation plays a major role in determining the interindividual differences in susceptibility or resistance to the obesogenic environment. Here we discuss how genetic studies in humans have contributed to our understanding of the central pathways that govern energy homeostasis. We discuss how the arrival of technological advances such as next-generation sequencing will result in a major acceleration in the pace of gene discovery. The study of patients harboring these genetic variants has informed our understanding of the molecular and physiological pathways involved in energy homeostasis. We anticipate that future studies will provide the framework for the development of a more rational targeted approach to the prevention and treatment of genetically susceptible individuals.

  5. Structural transitions in full-length human prion protein detected by xenon as probe and spin labeling of the N-terminal domain.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Narayanan, Sunilkumar Puthenpurackal; Nair, Divya Gopalakrishnan; Schaal, Daniel; Barbosa de Aguiar, Marisa; Wenzel, Sabine; Kremer, Werner; Schwarzinger, Stephan; Kalbitzer, Hans Robert

    2016-06-24

    Fatal neurodegenerative disorders termed transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are associated with the accumulation of fibrils of misfolded prion protein PrP. The noble gas xenon accommodates into four transiently enlarged hydrophobic cavities located in the well-folded core of human PrP(23-230) as detected by [(1)H, (15)N]-HSQC spectroscopy. In thermal equilibrium a fifth xenon binding site is formed transiently by amino acids A120 to L125 of the presumably disordered N-terminal domain and by amino acids K185 to T193 of the well-folded domain. Xenon bound PrP was modelled by restraint molecular dynamics. The individual microscopic and macroscopic dissociation constants could be derived by fitting the data to a model including a dynamic opening and closing of the cavities. As observed earlier by high pressure NMR spectroscopy xenon binding influences also other amino acids all over the N-terminal domain including residues of the AGAAAAGA motif indicating a structural coupling between the N-terminal domain and the core domain. This is in agreement with spin labelling experiments at positions 93 or 107 that show a transient interaction between the N-terminus and the start of helix 2 and the end of helix 3 of the core domain similar to that observed earlier by Zn(2+)-binding to the octarepeat motif.

  6. 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.

  7. 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...... of usability work to include a human perspective, is crucial to downstream utility—how usability work impacts the on-going development process. Our work shows that cross-professional collaboration is subject to challenges that arise from stakeholders having conflicting priorities, procedures and personalities....... Such challenges include evaluation results lacking relevance, poor timing of evaluation results, little respect for other disciplines, and difficulties sharing important information about a design. The studies of practical usability work suggest that user researchers working with computer games and task oriented...

  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. 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. 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.

  11. 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...

  12. NMR structure of the mouse prion protein domain PrP(121-231).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Riek, R; Hornemann, S; Wider, G; Billeter, M; Glockshuber, R; Wüthrich, K

    1996-07-11

    The 'protein only' hypothesis states that a modified form of normal prion protein triggers infectious neurodegenerative diseases, such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans. Prion proteins are thought to exist in two different conformations: the 'benign' PrPcform, and the infectious 'scrapie form', PrPsc. Knowledge of the three-dimensional structure of PrPc is essential for understanding the transition to PrPsc. The nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) structure of the autonomously folding PrP domain comprising residues 121-231 (ref. 6) contains a two-stranded antiparallel beta-sheet and three alpha-helices. This domain contains most of the point-mutation sites that have been linked, in human PrP, to the occurrence of familial prion diseases. The NMR structure shows that these mutations occur within, or directly adjacent to, regular secondary structures. The presence of a beta-sheet in PrP(121-231) is in contrast with model predictions of an all-helical structure of PrPc (ref. 8), and may be important for the initiation of the transition from PrPc to PrPsc.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Anti-prion drug mPPIg5 inhibits PrP(C conversion to PrP(Sc.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James M McCarthy

    Full Text Available Prion diseases, also known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, are a group of fatal neurodegenerative diseases that include scrapie in sheep, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE in cattle and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD in humans. The 'protein only hypothesis' advocates that PrP(Sc, an abnormal isoform of the cellular protein PrP(C, is the main and possibly sole component of prion infectious agents. Currently, no effective therapy exists for these diseases at the symptomatic phase for either humans or animals, though a number of compounds have demonstrated the ability to eliminate PrPSc in cell culture models. Of particular interest are synthetic polymers known as dendrimers which possess the unique ability to eliminate PrP(Sc in both an intracellular and in vitro setting. The efficacy and mode of action of the novel anti-prion dendrimer mPPIg5 was investigated through the creation of a number of innovative bio-assays based upon the scrapie cell assay. These assays were used to demonstrate that mPPIg5 is a highly effective anti-prion drug which acts, at least in part, through the inhibition of PrP(C to PrP(Sc conversion. Understanding how a drug works is a vital component in maximising its performance. By establishing the efficacy and method of action of mPPIg5, this study will help determine which drugs are most likely to enhance this effect and also aid the design of dendrimers with anti-prion capabilities for the future.

  18. Anti-Prion Drug mPPIg5 Inhibits PrPC Conversion to PrPSc

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCarthy, James M.; Franke, Markus; Resenberger, Ulrike K.; Waldron, Sibeal; Simpson, Jeremy C.; Tatzelt, Jörg; Appelhans, Dietmar; Rogers, Mark S.

    2013-01-01

    Prion diseases, also known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, are a group of fatal neurodegenerative diseases that include scrapie in sheep, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans. The ‘protein only hypothesis’ advocates that PrPSc, an abnormal isoform of the cellular protein PrPC, is the main and possibly sole component of prion infectious agents. Currently, no effective therapy exists for these diseases at the symptomatic phase for either humans or animals, though a number of compounds have demonstrated the ability to eliminate PrPSc in cell culture models. Of particular interest are synthetic polymers known as dendrimers which possess the unique ability to eliminate PrPSc in both an intracellular and in vitro setting. The efficacy and mode of action of the novel anti-prion dendrimer mPPIg5 was investigated through the creation of a number of innovative bio-assays based upon the scrapie cell assay. These assays were used to demonstrate that mPPIg5 is a highly effective anti-prion drug which acts, at least in part, through the inhibition of PrPC to PrPSc conversion. Understanding how a drug works is a vital component in maximising its performance. By establishing the efficacy and method of action of mPPIg5, this study will help determine which drugs are most likely to enhance this effect and also aid the design of dendrimers with anti-prion capabilities for the future. PMID:23383136

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. Soil humic substances hinder the propagation of prions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leita, Liviana; Giachin, Gabriele; Margon, Alja; Narkiewicz, Joanna; Legname, Giuseppe

    2013-04-01

    Prions are infectious pathogens causing fatal neurodegenerative disorders, known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), or prion diseases, which affect different mammalian species. TSEs include scrapie in sheep, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle, chronic wasting disease (CWD) in mule deer, elk, and moose (cervids), and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans. The prominent, if not only, component of prions is a misfolded conformer (PrPSc) of a constitutive sialoglycoprotein, the cellular prion protein (PrPC). A notable feature of prion diseases is horizontal transmission between grazing animals, implying that contaminated soil may serve to propagate the disease. In this respect, it has been reported that grazing animals ingest from tens to hundreds grams of soil per day, either incidentally through the diet, or deliberately in answering salt needs, and that mule deer can develop CWD after grazing in locations that previously housed infected animals. Prions may enter the environment through different routes, including animal excreta and secreta which mainly contribute to soil contamination. Recent studies have proven that prions can be retained in soil, which could act as a carrier of infectivity even several years after the contamination. However, within the large spread of potentially infected lands, prion diseases have become endemic only in geographically limited regions. The reasons for this geographical distribution remain unknown, but it suggests a role of the different kinds of soil in either enhancing or attenuating prion infectivity. The extent of prion transmission from the contaminated environment is unknown. Several studies have tried to address the issue of prion interaction with soil, but, at the present, different approaches show several drawbacks and technical difficulties, as soil is a complex, multi-component system of both mineral and organic interacting substances. Most research has focused on the adsorption

  3. Prion protein self-peptides modulate prion interactions and conversion

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rigter, A.; Priem, J.; Timmers-Parohi, D.; Langeveld, J.P.M.; Zijderveld, van F.G.; Bossers, A.

    2009-01-01

    Background: Molecular mechanisms underlying prion agent replication, converting host-encoded cellular prion protein (PrPC) into the scrapie associated isoform (PrPSc), are poorly understood. Selective self-interaction between PrP molecules forms a basis underlying the observed differences of the

  4. Prion type-dependent deposition of PRNP allelic products in heterozygous sheep

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Langeveld, J.P.M.; Jacobs, J.G.; Hunter, N.; Keulen, van L.J.M.; Lantier, F.; Zijderveld, van F.G.; Bossers, A.

    2016-01-01

    Susceptibility or resistance to prion infection in humans and animals depends on single prion protein (PrP) amino acid substitutions in the host, but the agent's modulating role has not been well investigated. Compared to disease incubation times in wild-type homozygous ARQ/ARQ (where each

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Epigenetic inheritance, prions and evolution

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Johannes Manjrekar

    2017-07-11

    Jul 11, 2017 ... in wild radish plants (Raphanus raphanistrum), caterpillar herbivory .... disadvantageous to growth/survival; under the same con- ..... of growth. As ethanol is depleted and hypoxic conditions come to prevail at the end of this phase of growth, the prion is lost and subsequently the non-prion protein becomes.

  9. 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.

  10. Doxorubicin and congo red effectiveness on prion infectivity in golden Syrian hamster.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Corato, Manuel; Ogliari, Paolo; Ceciliani, Fabrizio; Cova, Emanuela; Bellotti, Vincenzo; Cereda, Cristina; Merlini, Giampaolo; Ceroni, Mauro

    2009-07-01

    The effect of doxorubicin and Congo Red on prion protein (PrP) infectivity in experimental scrapie was studied to better understand the effect of these compounds in prion diseases and to establish whether a dose-response correlation exists for Congo Red. This was performed in order to test the effectiveness of compounds that may easily be used in human prion diseases. Brain homogenate containing membrane bound PrPSc monomers was used as inoculum and was previously incubated with doxorubicin 10(-3) M and with increasing concentrations of Congo Red ranging from 10(-7) to 10(-2) M. This study shows for the first time that doxorubicin, and confirms that Congo Red, may interact with pathological PrP monomers modifying their infectious properties. Pre-incubation of infected brain homogenate with Congo Red resulted in prolonged incubation time and survival, independently of Congo Red concentration (pCongo Red effects do not depend upon interaction with PrP amyloid material.

  11. Activation of human microglia by fibrillar prion protein-related peptides is enhanced by amyloid-associated factors SAP and C1q

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Veerhuis, Robert; Boshuizen, Ronald S.; Morbin, Michela; Mazzoleni, Giulia; Hoozemans, Jeroen J. M.; Langedijk, Johannes P. M.; Tagliavini, Fabrizio; Langeveld, Jan P. M.; Eikelenboom, Piet

    2005-01-01

    Complement activation products C1q and C3d, serum amyloid P component (SAP) and activated glial cells accumulate in amyloid deposits of conformationally changed prion protein (PrPSc) in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Gerstmann-Straussier-Scheinker disease and scrapie-infected mouse brain. Biological

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Infectious Prions in Pre-Clinical Deer and Transmission of Chronic Wasting Disease Solely by Environmental Exposure

    OpenAIRE

    Mathiason, Candace K.; Hays, Sheila A.; Powers, Jenny; Hayes-Klug, Jeanette; Langenberg, Julia; Dahmes, Sallie J.; Osborn, David A.; Miller, Karl V.; Warren, Robert J.; Mason, Gary L.; Hoover, Edward A.

    2009-01-01

    Key to understanding the epidemiology and pathogenesis of prion diseases, including chronic wasting disease (CWD) of cervids, is determining the mode of transmission from one individual to another. We have previously reported that saliva and blood from CWD-infected deer contain sufficient infectious prions to transmit disease upon passage into naïve deer. Here we again use bioassays in deer to show that blood and saliva of pre-symptomatic deer contain infectious prions capable of infecting na...

  17. Labeling of the scrapie-associated prion protein in vitro and in vivo.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoefert, Valerie B; Aiken, Judd M; McKenzie, Debbie; Johnson, Christopher J

    2004-11-23

    Prion diseases are a group of infectious neurodegenerative diseases that affect both animals and humans. A characteristic of prion diseases is the aggregation and accumulation of a disease-associated isoform of the prion protein in the brains of infected individuals. The amyloid imaging probe (trans,trans)-1-bromo-2,5-bis-(3-hydroxycarbonyl-4-hydroxy)styrylbenzene (BSB) has shown potential in the diagnosis of other amyloid disorders and we hypothesized that this compound would be effective in labeling prion protein plaques in vitro and in vivo. To test this, we compared BSB fluorescence to prion protein immunostaining on infected and uninfected brain tissue sections from scrapie-infected hamsters. We found that both methods labeled the same plaques in infected tissues while not substantially staining uninfected tissues. To test the potential of BSB as an in vivo label for prion aggregates, we perfused scrapie-infected animals with BSB and observed BSB labeled plaques co-stained with an anti-prion protein antibody. These results suggest that BSB may have use as a diagnostic tool for prion diseases. We were unable to detect BSB staining in preclinical scrapie-infected hamsters suggesting that the diagnostic potential of BSB could be limited in cases of prion disease that do not have plaques either due to a preclinical lack of pathology or disease agents like sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), which generally lack prion plaques. However, BSB may be a useful for prion diseases where plaques are present, such as clinical variant CJD.

  18. The Structure of PrPSc Prions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Holger Wille

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available PrPSc (scrapie isoform of the prion protein prions are the infectious agent behind diseases such as Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease in humans, bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cattle, chronic wasting disease in cervids (deer, elk, moose, and reindeer, as well as goat and sheep scrapie. PrPSc is an alternatively folded variant of the cellular prion protein, PrPC, which is a regular, GPI-anchored protein that is present on the cell surface of neurons and other cell types. While the structure of PrPC is well studied, the structure of PrPSc resisted high-resolution determination due to its general insolubility and propensity to aggregate. Cryo-electron microscopy, X-ray fiber diffraction, and a variety of other approaches defined the structure of PrPSc as a four-rung β-solenoid. A high-resolution structure of PrPSc still remains to be solved, but the four-rung β-solenoid architecture provides a molecular framework for the autocatalytic propagation mechanism that gives rise to the alternative conformation of PrPSc. Here, we summarize the current knowledge regarding the structure of PrPSc and speculate about the molecular conversion mechanisms that leads from PrPC to PrPSc.

  19. The Structure of PrPScPrions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wille, Holger; Requena, Jesús R

    2018-02-07

    PrP Sc (scrapie isoform of the prion protein) prions are the infectious agent behind diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cattle, chronic wasting disease in cervids (deer, elk, moose, and reindeer), as well as goat and sheep scrapie. PrP Sc is an alternatively folded variant of the cellular prion protein, PrP C , which is a regular, GPI-anchored protein that is present on the cell surface of neurons and other cell types. While the structure of PrP C is well studied, the structure of PrP Sc resisted high-resolution determination due to its general insolubility and propensity to aggregate. Cryo-electron microscopy, X-ray fiber diffraction, and a variety of other approaches defined the structure of PrP Sc as a four-rung β-solenoid. A high-resolution structure of PrP Sc still remains to be solved, but the four-rung β-solenoid architecture provides a molecular framework for the autocatalytic propagation mechanism that gives rise to the alternative conformation of PrP Sc . Here, we summarize the current knowledge regarding the structure of PrP Sc and speculate about the molecular conversion mechanisms that leads from PrP C to PrP Sc .

  20. [Molecular bases of prion diseases].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pokrovskiĭ, V I; Kiselev, O I

    1998-01-01

    The paper briefly analyzes the origin of priones and their association with the cellular gene and homologous protein of diseases in man and animals. There is evidence for a direct relationship of the agents that cause spongious encephalitis in the cattle and a new type of Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease in man. The molecular organization of priones and the conformational cellular protein changes underlying the infectious activation of the cell homologue of priones. Emphasis is first laid on the capacity of the cell homologue of priones and their infectiously active derivative to bind to DNA or RNA. In the context of concepts of the priones yeasts an attempt was made to explain the reproduction through the altered control of translation of mRNA that encodes the cellular homologue of priones, which accounts for the duration of the incubation period of the disease. The infections caused by priones are referred to as the so-called slow infections. But in the context of the proposed hypothesis, an infective process in the tissues did not really have some typical signs of infection and resembles accumulation diseases more without the replicative burst typical of infectious processes. The paper gives data on the vital cycle of priones in infected animals and changes in the accumulation of an infective agent. This assesses the currently available diagnostic methods and gives preference to the methods which will be based on the use of monoclonal antibodies that specifically recognize the conformationally altered form of an infectious prione or on the identification of primary oligomeric forms which manifest the onset of amyloidization of the damaged tissues. The main conclusion of the paper is that protein prionization is a common biological phenomenon and the diseases caused by these processes will increase in number in the near future, which makes it necessary to develop diagnostic methods and universal treatments of diseases, such as bacterial infections by using antibiotics.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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...

  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. Increasing prion propensity by hydrophobic insertion.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aaron C Gonzalez Nelson

    Full Text Available Prion formation involves the conversion of proteins from a soluble form into an infectious amyloid form. Most yeast prion proteins contain glutamine/asparagine-rich regions that are responsible for prion aggregation. Prion formation by these domains is driven primarily by amino acid composition, not primary sequence, yet there is a surprising disconnect between the amino acids thought to have the highest aggregation propensity and those that are actually found in yeast prion domains. Specifically, a recent mutagenic screen suggested that both aromatic and non-aromatic hydrophobic residues strongly promote prion formation. However, while aromatic residues are common in yeast prion domains, non-aromatic hydrophobic residues are strongly under-represented. Here, we directly test the effects of hydrophobic and aromatic residues on prion formation. Remarkably, we found that insertion of as few as two hydrophobic residues resulted in a multiple orders-of-magnitude increase in prion formation, and significant acceleration of in vitro amyloid formation. Thus, insertion or deletion of hydrophobic residues provides a simple tool to control the prion activity of a protein. These data, combined with bioinformatics analysis, suggest a limit on the number of strongly prion-promoting residues tolerated in glutamine/asparagine-rich domains. This limit may explain the under-representation of non-aromatic hydrophobic residues in yeast prion domains. Prion activity requires not only that a protein be able to form prion fibers, but also that these fibers be cleaved to generate new independently-segregating aggregates to offset dilution by cell division. Recent studies suggest that aromatic residues, but not non-aromatic hydrophobic residues, support the fiber cleavage step. Therefore, we propose that while both aromatic and non-aromatic hydrophobic residues promote prion formation, aromatic residues are favored in yeast prion domains because they serve a dual

  8. Global Environmental change: Understanding the Human Dimensions

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Morrisette, P.M.

    1993-01-01

    This book is from the National Research Council's Committee on the Human dimensions of Global Change. The object is to examine what is known about human dimensions of global environmental change, identify the major immediate needs for knowledge, and recommend a strategy over the next 5-10 years. Case studies are used in human causes of global change. issues related to theory, methods, and data are covered, as well as institutional needs for interdicipinary approaches

  9. Application of “omics” to Prion Biomarker Discovery

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rhiannon L. C. H. Huzarewich

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available The advent of genomics and proteomics has been a catalyst for the discovery of biomarkers able to discriminate biological processes such as the pathogenesis of complex diseases. Prompt detection of prion diseases is particularly desirable given their transmissibility, which is responsible for a number of human health risks stemming from exogenous sources of prion protein. Diagnosis relies on the ability to detect the biomarker PrPSc, a pathological isoform of the host protein PrPC, which is an essential component of the infectious prion. Immunochemical detection of PrPSc is specific and sensitive enough for antemortem testing of brain tissue, however, this is not the case in accessible biological fluids or for the detection of recently identified novel prions with unique biochemical properties. A complementary approach to the detection of PrPSc itself is to identify alternative, “surrogate” gene or protein biomarkers indicative of disease. Biomarkers are also useful to track the progress of disease, especially important in the assessment of therapies, or to identify individuals “at risk”. In this review we provide perspective on current progress and pitfalls in the use of “omics” technologies to screen body fluids and tissues for biomarker discovery in prion diseases.

  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. 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.

  12. Epigenetic inheritance, prions and evolution

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Johannes Manjrekar

    2017-07-11

    classical' TEI phenomena and their possible implications for evolution. The review then focusses on a less-discussed, unique kind of protein-only epigenetic inheritance mediated by prions. Much remains to be learnt about the ...

  13. 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

  14. 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....

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. Understanding Human Error Based on Automated Analyses

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This is a report on a continuing study of automated analyses of experiential textual reports to gain insight into the causal factors of human errors in aviation...

  18. Molecular interactions between prions as seeds and recombinant prion proteins as substrates resemble the biological interspecies barrier in vitro.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Giannantonio Panza

    Full Text Available Prion diseases like Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, Scrapie in sheep or bovine spongiform encephalopathy are fatal neurodegenerative diseases, which can be of sporadic, genetic, or infectious origin. Prion diseases are transmissible between different species, however, with a variable species barrier. The key event of prion amplification is the conversion of the cellular isoform of the prion protein (PrP(C into the pathogenic isoform (PrP(Sc. We developed a sodiumdodecylsulfate-based PrP conversion system that induces amyloid fibril formation from soluble α-helical structured recombinant PrP (recPrP. This approach was extended applying pre-purified PrP(Sc as seeds which accelerate fibrillization of recPrP. In the present study we investigated the interspecies coherence of prion disease. Therefore we used PrP(Sc from different species like Syrian hamster, cattle, mouse and sheep and seeded fibrillization of recPrP from the same or other species to mimic in vitro the natural species barrier. We could show that the in vitro system of seeded fibrillization is in accordance with what is known from the naturally occurring species barriers.

  19. 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.

  20. Exploration of the main sites for the transformation of normal prion protein (PrPC into pathogenic prion protein (PrPsc

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Liu Xi-Lin

    2017-03-01

    Full Text Available Introduction: The functions and mechanisms of prion proteins (PrPC are currently unknown, but most experts believe that deformed or pathogenic prion proteins (PrPSc originate from PrPC, and that there may be plural main sites for the conversion of normal PrPC into PrPSc. In order to better understand the mechanism of PrPC transformation to PrPSc, the most important step is to determine the replacement or substitution site.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. A novel and rapid method for obtaining high titre intact prion strains from mammalian brain

    OpenAIRE

    Wenborn, Adam; Terry, Cassandra; Gros, Nathalie; Joiner, Susan; D?Castro, Laura; Panico, Silvia; Sells, Jessica; Cronier, Sabrina; Linehan, Jacqueline M.; Brandner, Sebastian; Saibil, Helen R.; Collinge, John; Wadsworth, Jonathan D. F.

    2015-01-01

    Mammalian prions exist as multiple strains which produce characteristic and highly reproducible phenotypes in defined hosts. How this strain diversity is encoded by a protein-only agent remains one of the most interesting and challenging questions in biology with wide relevance to understanding other diseases involving the aggregation or polymerisation of misfolded host proteins. Progress in understanding mammalian prion strains has however been severely limited by the complexity and variabil...

  4. Evaluation of quinacrine treatment for prion diseases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barret, A; Tagliavini, F; Forloni, G; Bate, C; Salmona, M; Colombo, L; De Luigi, A; Limido, L; Suardi, S; Rossi, G; Auvré, F; Adjou, K T; Salès, N; Williams, A; Lasmézas, C; Deslys, J P

    2003-08-01

    Based on in vitro observations in scrapie-infected neuroblastoma cells, quinacrine has recently been proposed as a treatment for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), including a new variant CJD which is linked to contamination of food by the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) agent. The present study investigated possible mechanisms of action of quinacrine on prions. The ability of quinacrine to interact with and to reduce the protease resistance of PrP peptide aggregates and PrPres of human and animal origin were analyzed, together with its ability to inhibit the in vitro conversion of the normal prion protein (PrPc) to the abnormal form (PrPres). Furthermore, the efficiencies of quinacrine and chlorpromazine, another tricyclic compound, were examined in different in vitro models and in an experimental murine model of BSE. Quinacrine efficiently hampered de novo generation of fibrillogenic prion protein and PrPres accumulation in ScN2a cells. However, it was unable to affect the protease resistance of preexisting PrP fibrils and PrPres from brain homogenates, and a "curing" effect was obtained in ScGT1 cells only after lengthy treatment. In vivo, no detectable effect was observed in the animal model used, consistent with other recent studies and preliminary observations in humans. Despite its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, the use of quinacrine for the treatment of CJD is questionable, at least as a monotherapy. The multistep experimental approach employed here could be used to test new therapeutic regimes before their use in human trials.

  5. 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

  6. 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 ...

  7. 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 ...

  8. 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

    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...

  9. 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

  10. Prion protein insertional mutations increase aggregation propensity but not fiber stability

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    True Heather L

    2008-03-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Mutations in the PRNP gene account for ~15% of all prion disease cases. Little is understood about the mechanism of how some of these mutations in PRNP cause the protein to aggregate into amyloid fibers or cause disease. We have taken advantage of a chimeric protein system to study the oligopeptide repeat domain (ORD expansions of the prion protein, PrP, and their effect on protein aggregation and amyloid fiber formation. We replaced the ORD of the yeast prion protein Sup35p with that from wild type and expanded ORDs of PrP and compared their biochemical properties in vitro. We previously determined that these chimeric proteins maintain the [PSI+] yeast prion phenotype in vivo. Interestingly, we noted that the repeat expanded chimeric prions seemed to be able to maintain a stronger strain of [PSI+] and convert from [psi-] to [PSI+] with a much higher frequency. In this study we have attempted to understand the biochemical properties of these chimeric proteins and to establish a system to study the properties of the ORD of PrP both in vivo and in vitro. Results Investigation of the chimeric proteins in vitro reveals that repeat-expansions increase aggregation propensity and that the kinetics of fiber formation depends on the number of repeats. The fiber formation reactions are promiscuous in that the chimeric protein containing 14 repeats can readily cross-seed fiber formation of proteins that have the wild type number of repeats. Morphologically, the amyloid fibers formed by repeat-expanded proteins associate with each other to form large clumps that were not as prevalent in fibers formed by proteins containing the wild type number of repeats. Despite the increased aggregation propensity and lateral association of the repeat expanded proteins, there was no corresponding increase in the stability of the fibers formed. Therefore, we predict that the differences in fibers formed with different repeat lengths may not be due to

  11. Understanding human aggression: New insights from neuroscience.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Siegel, Allan; Victoroff, Jeff

    2009-01-01

    The present paper reviews and summarizes the basic findings concerning the nature of the neurobiological and behavioral characteristics of aggression and rage. For heuristic purposes, the types of aggression will be reduced to two categories - defensive rage (affective defense) and predatory attack. This approach helps explain both the behavioral properties of aggression as well as the underlying neural substrates and mechanisms of aggression both in animals and humans. Defensive rage behavior is activated by a threatening stimulus that is real or perceived and is associated with marked sympathetic output. This yields impulsivity with minimal cortical involvement. Predatory attack behavior in both animals and humans is generally planned, taking minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, or even years (with respect to humans) for it to occur and is directed upon a specific individual target; it reflects few outward sympathetic signs and is believed to require cortical involvement for its expression. Predatory attack requires activation of the lateral hypothalamus, while defensive rage requires activation of the medial hypothalamus and midbrain periaqueductal gray (PAG). Both forms of aggressive behavior are controlled by components of the limbic system, a region of the forebrain that is influenced by sensory inputs from the cerebral cortex and monoaminergic inputs from the brainstem reticular formation. Control of aggressive tendencies is partly modifiable through conditioning and related learning principles generated through the cerebral cortex.

  12. 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.

  13. Sulforaphane-induced autophagy flux prevents prion protein-mediated neurotoxicity through AMPK pathway.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, J-H; Jeong, J-K; Park, S-Y

    2014-10-10

    Prion diseases are neurodegenerative and infectious disorders that involve accumulation of misfolded scrapie prion protein, and which are characterized by spongiform degeneration. Autophagy, a major homeostatic process responsible for the degradation of cytoplasmic components, has garnered attention as the potential target for neurodegenerative diseases such as prion disease. We focused on protective effects of sulforaphane found in cruciferous vegetables on prion-mediated neurotoxicity and the mechanism of sulforaphane related to autophagy. In human neuroblastoma cells, sulforaphane protected prion protein (PrP) (106-126)-mediated neurotoxicity and increased autophagy flux marker microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3-II protein levels, following a decrease of p62 protein level. Pharmacological and genetical inhibition of autophagy by 3MA, wortmannin and knockdown of autophagy-related 5 (ATG5) led to block the effect of sulforaphane against PrP (106-126)-induced neurotoxicity. Furthermore we demonstrated that both sulforaphane-induced autophagy and protective effect of sulforaphane against PrP (106-126)-induced neurotoxicity are dependent on the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) signaling. The present results indicated that sulforaphane of cruciferous vegetables enhanced autophagy flux led to the protection effects against prion-mediated neurotoxicity, which was regulated by AMPK signaling pathways in human neuron cells. Our data also suggest that sulforaphane has a potential value as a therapeutic tool in neurodegenerative disease including prion diseases. Copyright © 2014 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. 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.

  15. Transmission and detection of prions in feces.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Safar, Jiri G; Lessard, Pierre; Tamgüney, Gültekin; Freyman, Yevgeniy; Deering, Camille; Letessier, Frederic; Dearmond, Stephen J; Prusiner, Stanley B

    2008-07-01

    In chronic wasting disease (CWD) in cervids and in scrapie in sheep, prions appear to be transmitted horizontally. Oral exposure to prion-tainted blood, urine, saliva, and feces has been suggested as the mode of transmission of CWD and scrapie among herbivores susceptible to these prion diseases. To explore the transmission of prions through feces, uninoculated Syrian hamsters (SHas) were cohabitated with or exposed to the bedding of SHas orally infected with Sc237 prions. Incubation times of 140 days and a rate of prion infection of 80%-100% among exposed animals suggested transmission by feces, probably via coprophagy. We measured the disease-causing isoform of the prion protein (PrP(Sc)) in feces by use of the conformation-dependent immunoassay, and we titrated the irradiated feces intracerebrally in transgenic mice that overexpressed SHa prion protein (SHaPrP). Fecal samples collected from infected SHas in the first 7 days after oral challenge harbored 60 ng/g PrP(Sc) and prion titers of approximately 10(6.6) ID(50)/g. Excretion of infectious prions continued at lower levels throughout the asymptomatic phase of the incubation period, most likely by the shedding of prions from infected Peyer patches. Our findings suggest that horizontal transmission of disease among herbivores may occur through the consumption of feces or foodstuff tainted with prions from feces of CWD-infected cervids and scrapie-infected sheep.

  16. [Human nature--understanding psychology in Nietzsche].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dieckhöfer, K

    1980-01-01

    It was tried to show some decisive and essential points of the psychological analyses contained in the complex work of the philosopher Nietzsche. The extent of his knowledge of man and his changeability constitutes here the field of an understanding, "unmasking" psychology with a sociological-historical touch. The thorough, slow ("lento") study of the original sources on the part of the master of a "connaisseurship of the word" seems to be indispensable for any reader trying to occupy himself with Nietzsche in a work of his own and the questions arising therefrom.

  17. What Makes a Prion: Infectious Proteins From Animals to Yeast.

    Science.gov (United States)

    MacLea, K S

    2017-01-01

    While philosophers in ancient times had many ideas for the cause of contagion, the modern study of infective agents began with Fracastoro's 1546 proposal that invisible "spores" spread infectious disease. However, firm categorization of the pathogens of the natural world would need to await a mature germ theory that would not arise for 300 years. In the 19th century, the earliest pathogens described were bacteria and other cellular microbes. By the close of that century, the work of Ivanovsky and Beijerinck introduced the concept of a virus, an infective particle smaller than any known cell. Extending into the early-mid-20th century there was an explosive growth in pathogenic microbiology, with a cellular or viral cause identified for nearly every transmissible disease. A few occult pathogens remained to be discovered, including the infectious proteins (prions) proposed by Prusiner in 1982. This review discusses the prions identified in mammals, yeasts, and other organisms, focusing on the amyloid-based prions. I discuss the essential biochemical properties of these agents and the application of this knowledge to diseases of protein misfolding and aggregation, as well as the utility of yeast as a model organism to study prion and amyloid proteins that affect human and animal health. Further, I summarize the ideas emerging out of these studies that the prion concept may go beyond proteinaceous infectious particles and that prions may be a subset of proteins having general nucleating or seeding functions involved in noninfectious as well as infectious pathogenic protein aggregation. © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  18. Understanding the complexity of human gait dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scafetta, Nicola; Marchi, Damiano; West, Bruce J.

    2009-06-01

    Time series of human gait stride intervals exhibit fractal and multifractal properties under several conditions. Records from subjects walking at normal, slow, and fast pace speed are analyzed to determine changes in the fractal scalings as a function of the stress condition of the system. Records from subjects with different age from children to elderly and patients suffering from neurodegenerative disease are analyzed to determine changes in the fractal scalings as a function of the physical maturation or degeneration of the system. A supercentral pattern generator model is presented to simulate the above two properties that are typically found in dynamical network performance: that is, how a dynamical network responds to stress and to evolution.

  19. Prion protein amino acid determinants of differential susceptibility and molecular feature of prion strains in mice and voles.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Umberto Agrimi

    2008-07-01

    Full Text Available The bank vole is a rodent susceptible to different prion strains from humans and various animal species. We analyzed the transmission features of different prions in a panel of seven rodent species which showed various degrees of phylogenetic affinity and specific prion protein (PrP sequence divergences in order to investigate the basis of vole susceptibility in comparison to other rodent models. At first, we found a differential susceptibility of bank and field voles compared to C57Bl/6 and wood mice. Voles showed high susceptibility to sheep scrapie but were resistant to bovine spongiform encephalopathy, whereas C57Bl/6 and wood mice displayed opposite features. Infection with mouse-adapted scrapie 139A was faster in voles than in C57Bl/6 and wood mice. Moreover, a glycoprofile change was observed in voles, which was reverted upon back passage to mice. All strains replicated much faster in voles than in mice after adapting to the new species. PrP sequence comparison indicated a correlation between the transmission patterns and amino acids at positions 154 and 169 (Y and S in mice, N and N in voles. This correlation was confirmed when inoculating three additional rodent species: gerbils, spiny mice and oldfield mice with sheep scrapie and 139A. These rodents were chosen because oldfield mice do have the 154N and 169N substitutions, whereas gerbil and spiny mice do not have them. Our results suggest that PrP residues 154 and 169 drive the susceptibility, molecular phenotype and replication rate of prion strains in rodents. This might have implications for the assessment of host range and molecular traceability of prion strains, as well as for the development of improved animal models for prion diseases.

  20. 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 Fe3+, 500 μg mL−1 h−1 H2O2, 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 PrPSc 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. PMID:24247293

  1. Prion Protein-Specific Antibodies-Development, Modes of Action and Therapeutics Application

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tihana Lenac Rovis

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available Prion diseases or Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs are lethal neurodegenerative disorders involving the misfolding of the host encoded cellular prion protein, PrPC. This physiological form of the protein is expressed throughout the body, and it reaches the highest levels in the central nervous system where the pathology occurs. The conversion into the pathogenic isoform denoted as prion or PrPSc is the key event in prion disorders. Prominent candidates for the treatment of prion diseases are antibodies and their derivatives. Anti-PrPC antibodies are able to clear PrPSc from cell culture of infected cells. Furthermore, application of anti-PrPC antibodies suppresses prion replication in experimental animal models. Major drawbacks of immunotherapy are immune tolerance, the risks of neurotoxic side effects, limited ability of compounds to cross the blood-brain barrier and their unfavorable pharmacokinetic. The focus of this review is to recapitulate the current understanding of the molecular mechanisms for antibody mediated anti-prion activity. Although relevant for designing immunotherapeutic tools, the characterization of key antibody parameters shaping the molecular mechanism of the PrPC to PrPSc conversion remains elusive. Moreover, this review illustrates the various attempts towards the development of anti-PrP antibody compounds and discusses therapeutic candidates that modulate PrP expression.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. A novel generation of heparan sulfate mimetics for the treatment of prion diseases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adjou, Karim Tarik; Simoneau, Steve; Salès, Nicole; Lamoury, François; Dormont, Dominique; Papy-Garcia, Dulce; Barritault, Denis; Deslys, Jean-Philippe; Lasmézas, Corinne Ida

    2003-09-01

    The accumulation of PrP(res), the protease-resistant abnormal form of the host-encoded cellular prion protein, PrP(C), plays a central role in transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Human contamination by bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has propelled many scientific teams on a highway for anti-prion drug development. This study reports that heparan sulfate mimetics (HMs), developed originally for their effect on tissue regeneration, abolish prion propagation in scrapie-infected GT1 cells. PrP(res) does not reappear for up to 50 days post-treatment. When tested in vivo, one of these compounds, HM2602, hampered PrP(res) accumulation in scrapie- and BSE-infected mice and prolonged significantly the survival time of 263K scrapie-infected hamsters. Interestingly, HM2602 is an apparently less toxic and more potent inhibitor of PrP(res) accumulation than dextran sulfate 500, a molecule known to exhibit anti-prion properties in vivo. Kinetics of PrP(res) disappearance in vitro and unaffected PrP(C) levels during treatment suggest that HMs are able to block the conversion of PrP(C) into PrP(res). It is speculated that HMs act as competitors of endogenous heparan sulfates known to act as co-receptors for the prion protein. Since these molecules are particularly amenable to drug design, their anti-prion potential could be developed further and optimized for the treatment of prion diseases.

  5. The prion-like protein Doppel (Dpl) interacts with the human receptor for activated C-kinase 1 (RACK1) protein.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Azzalin, Alberto; Del Vecchio, Igor; Ferretti, Luca; Comincini, Sergio

    2006-01-01

    Doppel (Dpl) is a homologue of the prion protein (PrPC). In contrast to PrP(C), Dpl is dispensable for prion disease, but appears to have an essential function in male spermatogenesis. Recently, Dpl has been found to be aberrantly expressed in astrocytic and leukaemic tumor specimens, showing a peculiar cytosolic cellular localization. The aim of this study was to clarify some of the putative Dpl interacting proteins. A yeast two hybrid system was employed and the results were verified by co-immunoprecipitation using transfected cells. Several potential Dpl-binding candidates were identified and, among them, the receptor for activated C-kinase (RACK1) protein was further investigated. RACK1 deletion mutants showed that some of its WD containing domains were directly involved in the binding with Dpl. Our data showed that Dpl interacts with RACK1 by means of its structured globular carboxyl-terminal region. This new Dpl interacting partner might suggest functional hypotheses about the role of this protein in an astrocytoma context where Dpl was found ectopically expressed.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Belondrade, Maxime; Nicot, Simon; Béringue, Vincent; Coste, Joliette; Lehmann, Sylvain; Bougard, Daisy

    2016-01-01

    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. PMID:26800081

  10. 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.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Belondrade, Maxime; Nicot, Simon; Béringue, Vincent; Coste, Joliette; Lehmann, Sylvain; Bougard, Daisy

    2016-01-01

    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.

  11. 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.

  12. Evaluation of removal of prion infectivity from red blood cells with prion reduction filters using a new rapid and highly sensitive cell culture-based infectivity assay.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sowemimo-Coker, Samuel O; Demczyk, Cheryl A; Andrade, Fabiola; Baker, Christopher A

    2010-05-01

    The clearance of infectious prions from biologic fluids is usually quantified by bioassays based on intracerebral inoculation of hamsters or mice; these tests are slow, cumbersome, imprecise, and very expensive. In the present study we describe the use of a new and highly sensitive cell culture-based infectivity assay to evaluate the performance of several prion removal prototype filters. Five units of 1- to 2-day-old ABO-compatible human red blood cells (RBCs) in saline-adenine-glucose-mannitol were obtained from an AABB-accredited blood bank. The 5 units were combined to create a homogenous pool. Scrapie-infected mouse brain homogenate of a Rocky Mountain Laboratory strain was added to the pooled RBCs. The pooled RBCs were divided into 300-mL aliquots, which were filtered with either standard leukoreduction filter or four prototypes of prion reduction filter. The levels of prion infectivity in the pre- and postfiltration samples were measured with a cell culture-based standard scrapie cell assay (SSCA). All the 22-layer prion reduction filters removed prion infectivity below the limit of detection of the SSCA (reduction in prion infectivity > or =2.0 log(10)LD(50)/mL) while the 10-layer variant showed some residual infectivity. These results demonstrate the utility of a highly sensitive cell culture-based infectivity assay for screening prion reduction filters. The use of this type of in vitro infectivity assay will substantially help expedite the screening and discovery of devices aimed at reducing the risk of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease transmission through blood transfusion.

  13. 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

  14. Simulating human behavior for understanding and managing environmental resource use

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Jager, Wander; Mosler, Hans Joachim

    2007-01-01

    Computer simulation allows for the experimental study of dynamic interactions between human behavior and complex environmental systems. Behavioral determinants and processes as identified in social-scientific theory may be formalized in simulated agents to obtain a better understanding of

  15. A receptor for infectious and cellular prion protein

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    V.R. Martins

    1999-07-01

    Full Text Available Prions are an unconventional form of infectious agents composed only of protein and involved in transmissible spongiform encephalopathies in humans and animals. The infectious particle is composed by PrPsc which is an isoform of a normal cellular glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol (GPI anchored protein, PrPc, of unknown function. The two proteins differ only in conformation, PrPc is composed of 40% a helix while PrPsc has 60% ß-sheet and 20% a helix structure. The infection mechanism is trigged by interaction of PrPsc with cellular prion protein causing conversion of the latter's conformation. Therefore, the infection spreads because new PrPsc molecules are generated exponentially from the normal PrPc. The accumulation of insoluble PrPsc is probably one of the events that lead to neuronal death. Conflicting data in the literature showed that PrPc internalization is mediated either by clathrin-coated pits or by caveolae-like membranous domains. However, both pathways seem to require a third protein (a receptor or a prion-binding protein either to make the connection between the GPI-anchored molecule to clathrin or to convert PrPc into PrPsc. We have recently characterized a 66-kDa membrane receptor which binds PrPc in vitro and in vivo and mediates the neurotoxicity of a human prion peptide. Therefore, the receptor should have a role in the pathogenesis of prion-related diseases and in the normal cellular process. Further work is necessary to clarify the events triggered by the association of PrPc/PrPsc with the receptor.

  16. Elements modulating the prion species barrier and its passage consequences.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Juan-Maria Torres

    Full Text Available The specific characteristics of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE strains may be altered during passage across a species barrier. In this study we investigated the biochemical and biological characteristics of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE after transmission in both natural host species (cattle, sheep, pigs and mice and in transgenic mice overexpressing the corresponding cellular prion protein (PrPC in comparison with other non-BSE related prions from the same species. After these passages, most features of the BSE agent remained unchanged. BSE-derived agents only showed slight modifications in the biochemical properties of the accumulated PrPSc, which were demonstrated to be reversible upon re-inoculation into transgenic mice expressing bovine-PrPC. Transmission experiments in transgenic mice expressing bovine, porcine or human-PrP revealed that all BSE-derived agents were transmitted with no or a weak transmission barrier. In contrast, a high species barrier was observed for the non-BSE related prions that harboured an identical PrP amino acid sequence, supporting the theory that the prion transmission barrier is modulated by strain properties (presumably conformation-dependent rather than by PrP amino acid sequence differences between host and donor. As identical results were observed with prions propagated either in natural hosts or in transgenic mouse models, we postulate that the species barrier and its passage consequences are uniquely governed by the host PrPC sequence and not influenced by other host genetic factors. The results presented herein reinforce the idea that the BSE agent is highly promiscuous, infecting other species, maintaining its properties in the new species, and even increasing its capabilities to jump to other species including humans. These data are essential for the development of an accurate risk assessment for BSE.

  17. Elements Modulating the Prion Species Barrier and Its Passage Consequences

    Science.gov (United States)

    Torres, Juan-Maria; Espinosa, Juan-Carlos; Aguilar-Calvo, Patricia; Herva, María-Eugenia; Relaño-Ginés, Aroa; Villa-Diaz, Ana; Morales, Mónica; Parra, Beatriz; Alamillo, Elia; Brun, Alejandro; Castilla, Joaquín; Molina, Susana; Hawkins, Steve A. C.; Andreoletti, Olivier

    2014-01-01

    The specific characteristics of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE) strains may be altered during passage across a species barrier. In this study we investigated the biochemical and biological characteristics of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) after transmission in both natural host species (cattle, sheep, pigs and mice) and in transgenic mice overexpressing the corresponding cellular prion protein (PrPC) in comparison with other non-BSE related prions from the same species. After these passages, most features of the BSE agent remained unchanged. BSE-derived agents only showed slight modifications in the biochemical properties of the accumulated PrPSc, which were demonstrated to be reversible upon re-inoculation into transgenic mice expressing bovine-PrPC. Transmission experiments in transgenic mice expressing bovine, porcine or human-PrP revealed that all BSE-derived agents were transmitted with no or a weak transmission barrier. In contrast, a high species barrier was observed for the non-BSE related prions that harboured an identical PrP amino acid sequence, supporting the theory that the prion transmission barrier is modulated by strain properties (presumably conformation-dependent) rather than by PrP amino acid sequence differences between host and donor. As identical results were observed with prions propagated either in natural hosts or in transgenic mouse models, we postulate that the species barrier and its passage consequences are uniquely governed by the host PrPC sequence and not influenced by other host genetic factors. The results presented herein reinforce the idea that the BSE agent is highly promiscuous, infecting other species, maintaining its properties in the new species, and even increasing its capabilities to jump to other species including humans. These data are essential for the development of an accurate risk assessment for BSE. PMID:24608126

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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- ...

  1. 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.

  2. Detecting prions and discriminating among prion strains by discerning the differences in absence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prions are molecular pathogens, able to convert a normal cellular prion protein (PrPC) into a prion (PrPSc). The only demonstrated difference between PrPC and PrPSc is conformational. This means that the information necessary for this conversion is contained solely in the conformation of PrPSc. It ...

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Role of misfolded prion protein in neurodegeneration

    OpenAIRE

    Alibhai, James David

    2015-01-01

    Chronic neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, prion diseases and many others are unified by the aberrant folding of a host encoded protein to a disease-associated isoform and the predictable cell-to-cell spread of disease-associated misfolded proteins via a putative prion-like mechanism. Prion diseases, for example, are associated with the aberrant folding of host encoded prion protein (PrPC) to a disease-associated isoform, which acts as a seed for the furth...

  6. Manipulating the Prion Protein Gene Sequence and Expression Levels with CRISPR/Cas9.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lech Kaczmarczyk

    Full Text Available The mammalian prion protein (PrP, encoded by Prnp is most infamous for its central role in prion diseases, invariably fatal neurodegenerative diseases affecting humans, food animals, and animals in the wild. However, PrP is also hypothesized to be an important receptor for toxic protein conformers in Alzheimer's disease, and is associated with other clinically relevant processes such as cancer and stroke. Thus, key insights into important clinical areas, as well as into understanding PrP functions in normal physiology, can be obtained from studying transgenic mouse models and cell culture systems. However, the Prnp locus is difficult to manipulate by homologous recombination, making modifications of the endogenous locus rarely attempted. Fortunately in recent years genome engineering technologies, like TALENs or CRISPR/Cas9 (CC9, have brought exceptional new possibilities for manipulating Prnp. Herein, we present our observations made during systematic experiments with the CC9 system targeting the endogenous mouse Prnp locus, to either modify sequences or to boost PrP expression using CC9-based synergistic activation mediators (SAMs. It is our hope that this information will aid and encourage researchers to implement gene-targeting techniques into their research program.

  7. Are Brazilian cervids at risk of prion diseases?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Falcão, Caio Bruno Ribeiro; Lima, Isabel Luiza de Melo Nunes Freire; Duarte, José Maurício Barbanti; de Oliveira, João Ricardo Mendes; Torres, Rodrigo Augusto; Wanderley, Artur Maia; Gomes da Cunha, José Eriton; Garcia, José Eduardo

    2017-01-02

    Prion diseases are neurodegenerative fatal disorders that affect human and non-human mammals. Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a prion disease of cervids regarded as a public health problem in North America, and polymorphisms at specific codons in the PRNP gene are associated with this disease. To assess the potential CWD susceptibility of South American free-ranging deer, the presence of these polymorphisms was examined in Mazama gouazoubira, Ozotoceros bezoarticus and Blastocerus dichotomus. Despite the lack of CWD reports in Brazil, the examined codons (95, 96, 116, 132, 225, and 226) of the PRNP gene showed potential CWD susceptibility in Brazilian deer. Low abundancy of deer in Brazil possibly difficult both CWD proliferation and detection, however, CWD surveillance may not be neglected.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Understanding human metabolic physiology: a genome-to-systems approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mo, Monica L; Palsson, Bernhard Ø

    2009-01-01

    The intricate nature of human physiology renders its study a difficult undertaking, and a systems biology approach is necessary to understand the complex interactions involved. Network reconstruction is a key step in systems biology and represents a common denominator because all systems biology research on a target organism relies on such a representation. With the recent development of genome-scale human metabolic networks, metabolic systems analysis is now possible and has initiated a shift towards human systems biology. Here, we review the important aspects of reconstructing a bottom-up human metabolic network, the network's role in modeling human physiology and the necessity for a community-based consensus reconstruction of human metabolism to be established.

  11. Applications and Limitations of Mouse Models for Understanding Human Atherosclerosis

    Science.gov (United States)

    von Scheidt, Moritz; Zhao, Yuqi; Kurt, Zeyneb; Pan, Calvin; Zeng, Lingyao; Yang, Xia; Schunkert, Heribert; Lusis, Aldons J.

    2017-01-01

    Most of the biological understanding of mechanisms underlying coronary artery disease (CAD) derives from studies of mouse models. The identification of multiple CAD loci and strong candidate genes in large human genome-wide association studies (GWAS) presented an opportunity to examine the relevance of mouse models for the human disease. We comprehensively reviewed the mouse literature, including 827 literature-derived genes, and compared it to human data. First, we observed striking concordance of risk factors for atherosclerosis in mice and humans. Second, there was highly significant overlap of mouse genes with human genes identified by GWAS. In particular, of the 46 genes with strong association signals in CAD-GWAS that were studied in mouse models all but one exhibited consistent effects on atherosclerosis-related phenotypes. Third, we compared 178 CAD-associated pathways derived from human GWAS with 263 from mouse studies and observed that over 50% were consistent between both species. PMID:27916529

  12. A Hybrid Framework for Understanding and Predicting Human Reaching Motions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ozgur S. Oguz

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available Robots collaborating naturally with a human partner in a confined workspace need to understand and predict human motions. For understanding, a model-based approach is required as the human motor control system relies on the biomechanical properties to control and execute actions. The model-based control models explain human motions descriptively, which in turn enables predicting and analyzing human movement behaviors. In motor control, reaching motions are framed as an optimization problem. However, different optimality criteria predict disparate motion behavior. Therefore, the inverse problem—finding the optimality criterion from a given arm motion trajectory—is not unique. This paper implements an inverse optimal control (IOC approach to determine the combination of cost functions that governs a motion execution. The results indicate that reaching motions depend on a trade-off between kinematics and dynamics related cost functions. However, the computational efficiency is not sufficient for online prediction to be utilized for HRI. In order to predict human reaching motions with high efficiency and accuracy, we combine the IOC approach with a probabilistic movement primitives formulation. This hybrid model allows an online-capable prediction while taking into account motor variability and the interpersonal differences. The proposed framework affords a descriptive and a generative model of human reaching motions which can be effectively utilized online for human-in-the-loop robot control and task execution.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Test for Detection of Disease-Associated Prion Aggregate in the Blood of Infected but Asymptomatic Animals▿

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chang, Binggong; Cheng, Xin; Yin, Shaoman; Pan, Tao; Zhang, Hongtao; Wong, Poki; Kang, Shin-Chung; Xiao, Fan; Yan, Huimin; Li, Chaoyang; Wolfe, Lisa L.; Miller, Michael W.; Wisniewski, Thomas; Greene, Mark I.; Sy, Man-Sun

    2007-01-01

    We have developed a sensitive in vitro assay for detecting disease-associated prion aggregates by combining an aggregation-specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (AS-ELISA) with the fluorescent amplification catalyzed by T7 RNA polymerase technique (FACTT). The new assay, named aggregation-specific FACTT (AS-FACTT), is much more sensitive than AS-ELISA and could detect prion aggregates in the brain of mice as early as 7 days after an intraperitoneal inoculation of PrPSc. However, AS-FACTT was still unable to detect prion aggregates in blood of infected mice. To further improve the detection limit of AS-FACTT, we added an additional prion amplification step (Am) and developed a third-generation assay, termed Am-A-FACTT. Am-A-FACTT has 100% sensitivity and specificity in detecting disease-associated prion aggregates in blood of infected mice at late but still asymptomatic stages of disease. At a very early stage, Am-A-FACTT had a sensitivity of 50% and a specificity of 100%. Most importantly, Am-A-FACTT also detects prion aggregates in blood of mule deer infected with the agent causing a naturally occurring prion disease, chronic wasting disease. Application of this assay to cattle, sheep, and humans could safeguard food supplies and prevent human contagion. PMID:17079434

  16. Test for detection of disease-associated prion aggregate in the blood of infected but asymptomatic animals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chang, Binggong; Cheng, Xin; Yin, Shaoman; Pan, Tao; Zhang, Hongtao; Wong, Poki; Kang, Shin-Chung; Xiao, Fan; Yan, Huimin; Li, Chaoyang; Wolfe, Lisa L; Miller, Michael W; Wisniewski, Thomas; Greene, Mark I; Sy, Man-Sun

    2007-01-01

    We have developed a sensitive in vitro assay for detecting disease-associated prion aggregates by combining an aggregation-specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (AS-ELISA) with the fluorescent amplification catalyzed by T7 RNA polymerase technique (FACTT). The new assay, named aggregation-specific FACTT (AS-FACTT), is much more sensitive than AS-ELISA and could detect prion aggregates in the brain of mice as early as 7 days after an intraperitoneal inoculation of PrP(Sc). However, AS-FACTT was still unable to detect prion aggregates in blood of infected mice. To further improve the detection limit of AS-FACTT, we added an additional prion amplification step (Am) and developed a third-generation assay, termed Am-A-FACTT. Am-A-FACTT has 100% sensitivity and specificity in detecting disease-associated prion aggregates in blood of infected mice at late but still asymptomatic stages of disease. At a very early stage, Am-A-FACTT had a sensitivity of 50% and a specificity of 100%. Most importantly, Am-A-FACTT also detects prion aggregates in blood of mule deer infected with the agent causing a naturally occurring prion disease, chronic wasting disease. Application of this assay to cattle, sheep, and humans could safeguard food supplies and prevent human contagion.

  17. 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,…

  18. 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…

  19. Understanding Social Freedom and Humanism in Odera Oruka's ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Understanding Social Freedom and Humanism in Odera Oruka's Philosophy. O Nyarwath. Abstract. H. Odera Oruka's philosophy, as can be discerned from his various works, revolves around the issue of social justice. In this paper I seek to show how Oruka's idea of social justice is inextricably bound up with his ...

  20. 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....

  1. Understanding the behavior of floodplains as human-water systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Di Baldassarre, G.; Brandimarte, L.

    2012-12-01

    Floodplains are among the most valuable ecosystems for supporting biodiversity and providing services to the environment. Moreover, they are home of approximately one-sixth of the world population as they offer favorable conditions for economic development. As a result, flood disasters currently affect more than 100 million people a year. Sadly, flood losses and fatalities are expected to increase further in many countries because of population growth as well as changes in land use and climate. Given the relevance of floodplain systems, a number of social scientists have examined how the frequency and severity of flooding often determine whether human development in floodplains is desirable or not. Meanwhile, many earth scientists have investigated the impact of human activities (e.g. land-use changes, urbanization, river training) on the frequency and magnitude of floods. In fact, as human activities change the frequency of flooding, the frequency of flooding affects human developments in floodplain areas. Yet, these dynamic interactions between floods and societies and the associated feedback mechanisms remain largely unexplored and poorly understood. As a result, we typically consider humans as external forcing (or boundary condition) without representing the feedback loops and our prediction of future trajectories are therefore extremely limited. This presentation shows a first attempt to understand the behavior of floodplains as coupled human-water systems. In particular, we analyzed a number of long time series of hydrological and population data in the Po River Basin (Italy) to explore the feedback mechanisms, reciprocal effects, surprises, and threshold mechanisms, taking place in floodplain systems. The outcomes of the study enable a better understanding of how the occurrences of floods shape human developments while, at the same time, human activities shape the magnitude and frequency of floods. The presentation also discusses the opportunities offered by

  2. Comparison of the Anti-Prion Mechanism of Four Different Anti-Prion Compounds, Anti-PrP Monoclonal Antibody 44B1, Pentosan Polysulfate, Chlorpromazine, and U18666A, in Prion-Infected Mouse Neuroblastoma Cells

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yamasaki, Takeshi; Suzuki, Akio; Hasebe, Rie; Horiuchi, Motohiro

    2014-01-01

    Molecules that inhibit the formation of an abnormal isoform of prion protein (PrPSc) in prion-infected cells are candidate therapeutic agents for prion diseases. Understanding how these molecules inhibit PrPSc formation provides logical basis for proper evaluation of their therapeutic potential. In this study, we extensively analyzed the effects of the anti-PrP monoclonal antibody (mAb) 44B1, pentosan polysulfate (PPS), chlorpromazine (CPZ) and U18666A on the intracellular dynamics of a cellular isoform of prion protein (PrPC) and PrPSc in prion-infected mouse neuroblastoma cells to re-evaluate the effects of those agents. MAb 44B1 and PPS rapidly reduced PrPSc levels without altering intracellular distribution of PrPSc. PPS did not change the distribution and levels of PrPC, whereas mAb 44B1 appeared to inhibit the trafficking of cell surface PrPC to organelles in the endocytic-recycling pathway that are thought to be one of the sites for PrPSc formation. In contrast, CPZ and U18666A initiated the redistribution of PrPSc from organelles in the endocytic-recycling pathway to late endosomes/lysosomes without apparent changes in the distribution of PrPC. The inhibition of lysosomal function by monensin or bafilomycin A1 after the occurrence of PrPSc redistribution by CPZ or U18666A partly antagonized PrPSc degradation, suggesting that the transfer of PrPSc to late endosomes/lysosomes, possibly via alteration of the membrane trafficking machinery of cells, leads to PrPSc degradation. This study revealed that precise analysis of the intracellular dynamics of PrPC and PrPSc provides important information for understanding the mechanism of anti-prion agents. PMID:25181483

  3. Chronic Lymphocytic Inflammation Specifies the Organ Tropism of Prions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heikenwalder, Mathias; Zeller, Nicolas; Seeger, Harald; Prinz, Marco; Klöhn, Peter-Christian; Schwarz, Petra; Ruddle, Nancy H.; Weissmann, Charles; Aguzzi, Adriano

    2005-02-01

    Prions typically accumulate in nervous and lymphoid tissues. Because proinflammatory cytokines and immune cells are required for lymphoid prion replication, we tested whether inflammatory conditions affect prion pathogenesis. We administered prions to mice with five inflammatory diseases of the kidney, pancreas, or liver. In all cases, chronic lymphocytic inflammation enabled prion accumulation in otherwise prion-free organs. Inflammatory foci consistently correlated with lymphotoxin up-regulation and ectopic induction of FDC-M1+ cells expressing the normal cellular prion protein PrPC. By contrast, inflamed organs of mice lacking lymphotoxin-α or its receptor did not accumulate the abnormal isoform PrPSc, nor did they display infectivity upon prion inoculation. By expanding the tissue distribution of prions, chronic inflammatory conditions may act as modifiers of natural and iatrogenic prion transmission.

  4. Axonal and Transynaptic Spread of Prions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shearin, Harold

    2014-01-01

    ABSTRACT Natural transmission of prion diseases depends upon the spread of prions from the nervous system to excretory or secretory tissues, but the mechanism of prion transport in axons and into peripheral tissue is unresolved. Here, we examined the temporal and spatial movement of prions from the brain stem along cranial nerves into skeletal muscle as a model of axonal transport and transynaptic spread. The disease-specific isoform of the prion protein, PrPSc, was observed in nerve fibers of the tongue approximately 2 weeks prior to PrPSc deposition in skeletal muscle. Initially, PrPSc deposits had a small punctate pattern on the edge of muscle cells that colocalized with synaptophysin, a marker for the neuromuscular junction (NMJ), in >50% of the cells. At later time points PrPSc was widely distributed in muscle cells, but PrPSc deposition at the NMJ, suggesting additional prion replication and dissemination within muscle cells. In contrast to the NMJ, PrPSc was not associated with synaptophysin in nerve fibers but was found to colocalize with LAMP-1 and cathepsin D during early stages of axonal spread. We propose that PrPSc-bound endosomes can lead to membrane recycling in which PrPSc is directed to the synapse, where it either moves across the NMJ into the postsynaptic muscle cell or induces PrPSc formation on muscle cells across the NMJ. IMPORTANCE Prion diseases are transmissible and fatal neurodegenerative diseases in which prion dissemination to excretory or secretory tissues is necessary for natural disease transmission. Despite the importance of this pathway, the cellular mechanism of prion transport in axons and into peripheral tissue is unresolved. This study demonstrates anterograde spread of prions within nerve fibers prior to infection of peripheral synapses (i.e., neuromuscular junction) and infection of peripheral tissues (i.e., muscle cells). Within nerve fibers prions were associated with the endosomal-lysosomal pathway prior to entry into

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-11-17

    ... 2070-AJ26 Prions; Proposed Amendment To Clarify Product Performance Data for Products With Prion...). ACTION: Supplemental proposed rule. SUMMARY: As a supplement to the proposed rule to declare a prion (i.e... (FIFRA), and to amend its regulations to expressly include prion within the regulatory definition of pest...

  6. 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...

  7. Copper and the Prion Protein: Methods, Structures, Function, and Disease

    Science.gov (United States)

    Millhauser, Glenn L.

    2007-05-01

    The transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) arise from conversion of the membrane-bound prion protein from PrPC to PrPSc. Examples of the TSEs include mad cow disease, chronic wasting disease in deer and elk, scrapie in goats and sheep, and kuru and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. Although the precise function of PrPC in healthy tissues is not known, recent research demonstrates that it binds Cu(II) in an unusual and highly conserved region of the protein termed the octarepeat domain. This review describes recent connections between copper and PrPC, with an emphasis on the electron paramagnetic resonance elucidation of the specific copper-binding sites, insights into PrPC function, and emerging connections between copper and prion disease.

  8. 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.

  9. Small is not beautiful: antagonizing functions for the prion protein PrP(C) and its homologue Dpl.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Behrens, Axel; Aguzzi, Adriano

    2002-03-01

    A conformational variant of the normal prion protein PrP(C) is believed to be identical to PrP(Sc), the agent that causes prion diseases. Recently, a novel protein, named Doppel (Dpl), was identified that shares significant biochemical and structural homology with PrP(C). In specific strains of PrP(C)-deficient mouse lines, Dpl is overexpressed and causes a neurological disease. Dpl neurotoxicity is counteracted and prevented by PrP(C), but the mechanism of antagonistic PrP(C)-Dpl interaction remains elusive. In contrast to its homologue PrP(C), initial studies suggest that Dpl is dispensable for prion disease progression and for the generation of PrP(Sc). Although we are only beginning to understand its function, the discovery of Dpl has already provided some answers to long-standing questions and is transforming our understanding of prion biology.

  10. Young children's understanding of stages of human development

    OpenAIRE

    濱田, 祥子; 杉村, 伸一郎

    2010-01-01

    The self-concept is composed through the interaction with others (Mead,1934). As selfconceptual study in early childhood, most targets the same age others. However, it is thought that the existence of the others at other stages of development brings the influence to the self-concept if the self-concept is composed by the interaction with others. The present study aimed to search for children's understanding of stages of human development and children's self-concept by the comparisons between ...

  11. Physiological and pathological functions of the prion protein homologue Dpl.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Behrens, Axel

    2003-01-01

    A misfolded version of the prion protein PrP(C), known as PrP(Sc), is the major component of scrapie infectivity, the pathological agent in transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. The Prnp gene that encodes the cellular PrP(C) protein was cloned almost 20 years ago, but remained without sequence or structural relatives for over a decade. Only recently a novel protein, named Doppel (Dpl), was identified, which shares significant biochemical and structural homology with PrP(C). When overexpressed, Dpl is neurotoxic and causes a neurological disease. Strikingly, Dpl neurotoxicity is counteracted and prevented by PrP(C). In contrast to its homologue PrP(C), Dpl is dispensable for prion disease progression and for the generation of PrP(Sc), but Dpl appears to have an essential function in male spermatogenesis. Although Dpl research is still in its infancy, the discovery of Dpl has already solved some enigmas of prion biology and an understanding of its physiological function is emerging.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Longitudinal Detection of Prion Shedding in Saliva and Urine by Chronic Wasting Disease-Infected Deer by Real-Time Quaking-Induced Conversion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Henderson, Davin M.; Denkers, Nathaniel D.; Hoover, Clare E.; Garbino, Nina; Mathiason, Candace K.

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an emergent, rapidly spreading prion disease of cervids. Shedding of infectious prions in saliva and urine is thought to be an important factor in CWD transmission. To help to elucidate this issue, we applied an in vitro amplification assay to determine the onset, duration, and magnitude of prion shedding in longitudinally collected saliva and urine samples from CWD-exposed white-tailed deer. We detected prion shedding as early as 3 months after CWD exposure and sustained shedding throughout the disease course. We estimated that the 50% lethal dose (LD50) for cervidized transgenic mice would be contained in 1 ml of infected deer saliva or 10 ml of urine. Given the average course of infection and daily production of these body fluids, an infected deer would shed thousands of prion infectious doses over the course of CWD infection. The direct and indirect environmental impacts of this magnitude of prion shedding on cervid and noncervid species are surely significant. IMPORTANCE Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an emerging and uniformly fatal prion disease affecting free-ranging deer and elk and is now recognized in 22 U.S. states and 2 Canadian provinces. It is unique among prion diseases in that it is transmitted naturally through wild populations. A major hypothesis to explain CWD's florid spread is that prions are shed in excreta and transmitted via direct or indirect environmental contact. Here we use a rapid in vitro assay to show that infectious doses of CWD prions are in fact shed throughout the multiyear disease course in deer. This finding is an important advance in assessing the risks posed by shed CWD prions to animals as well as humans. PMID:26136567

  16. Scrapie prions: a three-dimensional model of an infectious fragment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huang, Z; Prusiner, S B; Cohen, F E

    1996-01-01

    A conformational change seems to represent the major difference between the scrapie prion protein (PrPSc) and its normal cellular isoform (PrPC). We recently proposed a set of four helix bundle models for the three-dimensional structure of PrPC that are consistent with a variety of spectroscopic and genetic data. We report a plausible model for the three-dimensional structure of a biologically important fragment of PrPSc. The model of residues 108-218 was constructed by an approach that combines computational techniques and experimental data. The proposed structures of this fragment of PrPSc display a four-stranded beta-sheet covered on one face by two alpha-helices. Residues implicated in the prion species barrier are found to cluster on the solvent-accessible surface of the beta-sheet of one of the models. This interface could provide a structural template that would assist the conversion of PrPC to PrPSc and hence direct prion propagation. Molecular models of the PrP isoforms should prove very useful in developing structural hypotheses about the process by which PrPC is transformed into PrPSc, the mechanisms by which PrP gene mutations give rise to the inherited human prion diseases, and the species barrier that seems to protect humans from animal prions. It seems likely that PrPC represents a kinetically trapped intermediate in PrP folding.

  17. Asymptomatic deer excrete infectious prions in faeces.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tamgüney, Gültekin; Miller, Michael W; Wolfe, Lisa L; Sirochman, Tracey M; Glidden, David V; Palmer, Christina; Lemus, Azucena; DeArmond, Stephen J; Prusiner, Stanley B

    2009-09-24

    Infectious prion diseases-scrapie of sheep and chronic wasting disease (CWD) of several species in the deer family-are transmitted naturally within affected host populations. Although several possible sources of contagion have been identified in excretions and secretions from symptomatic animals, the biological importance of these sources in sustaining epidemics remains unclear. Here we show that asymptomatic CWD-infected mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) excrete CWD prions in their faeces long before they develop clinical signs of prion disease. Intracerebral inoculation of irradiated deer faeces into transgenic mice overexpressing cervid prion protein (PrP) revealed infectivity in 14 of 15 faecal samples collected from five deer at 7-11 months before the onset of neurological disease. Although prion concentrations in deer faeces were considerably lower than in brain tissue from the same deer collected at the end of the disease, the estimated total infectious dose excreted in faeces by an infected deer over the disease course may approximate the total contained in a brain. Prolonged faecal prion excretion by infected deer provides a plausible natural mechanism that might explain the high incidence and efficient horizontal transmission of CWD within deer herds, as well as prion transmission among other susceptible cervids.

  18. Accepting, understanding, teaching, and learning (human) evolution: Obstacles and opportunities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pobiner, Briana

    2016-01-01

    Questions about our origin as a species are universal and compelling. Evolution-and in particular human evolution-is a subject that generates intense interest across the world, evidenced by the fact that fossil and DNA discoveries grace the covers of major science journals and magazines as well as other popular print and online media. However, virtually all national polls indicate that the majority of Americans strongly reject biological evolution as a fact-based, well-tested, and robust understanding of the history of life. In the popular mind, no topic in all of science is more contentious or polarizing than evolution and media sources often only serve to magnify this polarization by covering challenges to the teaching of evolution. In the realm of teaching, debates about evolution have shaped textbooks, curricula, standards, and policy. Challenges to accepting and understanding evolution include mistrust and denial of science, cognitive obstacles and misconceptions, language and terminology, and a religious worldview, among others. Teachers, who are on the front lines of these challenges, must be armed with the tools and techniques to teach evolution in formal education settings across grades K-16 in a straightforward, thorough, and sensitive way. Despite the potentially controversial topic of human evolution, growing research is demonstrating that a pedagogical focus on human examples is an effective and engaging way to teach core concepts of evolutionary biology. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  19. Prion diseases and sleep disorders

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    ZHAN Shu-qin

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available Prion diseases (PrD are a group of encephalopathies with neurodegenerative changes caused by prion protein (PrP whose characteristic datum is transmissibility. In most cases they occur in a sporadic form although a group of them are familial associated with mutations in PrP gene. Phenotypicvariability of fatal familial insomnia (FFI versus familial Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease178 (fCJD178 seems to determine the different methionine-valine polymorphism at codon 129 of the PrP gene. Sleep disorders is one of the important clinical features for the diagnosis and definition of PrD. FFI, a hereditary disorder characterized by loss of physiological sleep with oneiric stupor, autonomic and motor hyperactivity. The polysomnography (PSG shows disappearance of the physiological pattern of non-rapid eye movement (NREM and rapid eye movement (REM sleep, as well as sleep spindles and K-complexes were absent. The hypothesis of the origin of these disorders is thalamic neuronal loss, especially in the anterior and dorsomedial nuclei, described in the neuropathology of these patients; besides, PET reveals hypofunction of thalamic nuclei, centres responsible for controlling wake-sleep. In CJD the wake-sleep disorders is not considered characteristic; nonetheless, frequent alterations have been found in the electroencephalographic registers of sleep. Besides thalamic neurodegeneration, there could be common etiopathogenic mechanisms in PrD in relation to the biological function of PrP.

  20. Understanding and managing human threats to the coastal marine environment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crain, Caitlin M; Halpern, Benjamin S; Beck, Mike W; Kappel, Carrie V

    2009-04-01

    Coastal marine habitats at the interface of land and sea are subject to threats from human activities in both realms. Researchers have attempted to quantify how these various threats impact different coastal ecosystems, and more recently have focused on understanding the cumulative impact from multiple threats. Here, the top threats to coastal marine ecosystems and recent efforts to understand their relative importance, ecosystem-level impacts, cumulative effects, and how they can best be managed and mitigated, are briefly reviewed. Results of threat analysis and rankings will differ depending on the conservation target (e.g., vulnerable species, pristine ecosystems, mitigatable threats), scale of interest (local, regional, or global), whether externalities are considered, and the types of management tools available (e.g., marine-protected areas versus ecosystem-based management). Considering the cumulative effect of multiple threats has only just begun and depends on spatial analysis to predict overlapping threats and a better understanding of multiple-stressor effects and interactions. Emerging conservation practices that hold substantial promise for protecting coastal marine systems include multisector approaches, such as ecosystem-based management (EBM), that account for ecosystem service valuation; comprehensive spatial management, such as ocean zoning; and regulatory mechanisms that encourage or require cross-sector goal setting and evaluation. In all cases, these efforts require a combination of public and private initiatives for success. The state of our ecological understanding, public awareness, and policy initiatives make the time ripe for advancing coastal marine management and improving our stewardship of coastal and marine ecosystems.

  1. 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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Neil Andrew Mabbott

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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...

  5. Mechanisms of triggering H1 helix in prion proteins unfolding revealed by molecular dynamic simulation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tseng, Chih-Yuan; Lee, H. C.

    2006-03-01

    In template-assistance model, normal Prion protein (PrP^C), the pathogen to cause several prion diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob (CJD) in human, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in cow, and scrapie in sheep, converts to infectious prion (PrP^Sc) through a transient interaction with PrP^Sc. Furthermore, conventional studies showed S1-H1-S2 region in PrP^C to be the template of S1-S2 β-sheet in PrP^Sc, and Prion protein's conformational conversion may involve an unfolding of H1 and refolding into β-sheet. Here we prepare several mouse prion peptides that contain S1-H1-S2 region with specific different structures, which are corresponding to specific interactions, to investigate possible mechanisms to trigger H1 α-helix unfolding process via molecular dynamic simulation. Three properties, conformational transition, salt-bridge in H1, and hydrophobic solvent accessible surface (SAS) are analyzed. From these studies, we found the interaction that triggers H1 unfolding to be the one that causes dihedral angle at residue Asn^143 changes. Whereas interactions that cause S1 segment's conformational changes play a minor in this process. These studies offers an additional evidence for template-assistance model.

  6. Cerebrospinal Fluid Prion Disease Biomarkers in Pre-clinical and Clinical Naturally Occurring Scrapie.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Llorens, Franc; Barrio, Tomás; Correia, Ângela; Villar-Piqué, Anna; Thüne, Katrin; Lange, Peter; Badiola, Juan José; Schmitz, Matthias; Lachmann, Ingolf; Bolea, Rosa; Zerr, Inga

    2018-03-23

    The analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers in patients with suspected prion diseases became a useful tool in diagnostic routine. Prion diseases can only be identified at clinical stages when the disease already spread throughout the brain and massive neuronal damage occurs. Consequently, the accuracy of CSF tests detecting non-symptomatic patients is unknown. Here, we aimed to investigate the usefulness of CSF-based diagnostic tests in pre-clinical and clinical naturally occurring scrapie. While decreased total prion protein (PrP) levels and positive PrP seeding activity were already detectable at pre-symptomatic stages, the surrogate markers of neuronal damage total tau (tau) and 14-3-3 proteins were exclusively increased at clinical stages. The present findings confirm that alterations in PrP levels and conformation are primary events in the pathology of prion diseases preceding neuronal damage. Our work also supports the potential use of these tests in the screening of pre-symptomatic scrapie and human prion disease cases.

  7. Targeting of prion-infected lymphoid cells to the central nervous system accelerates prion infection

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Friedman-Levi Yael

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Prions, composed of a misfolded protein designated PrPSc, are infectious agents causing fatal neurodegenerative diseases. We have shown previously that, following induction of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, prion-infected mice succumb to disease significantly earlier than controls, concomitant with the deposition of PrPSc aggregates in inflamed white matter areas. In the present work, we asked whether prion disease acceleration by experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis results from infiltration of viable prion-infected immune cells into the central nervous system. Methods C57Bl/6 J mice underwent intraperitoneal inoculation with scrapie brain homogenates and were later induced with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by inoculation of MOG35-55 in complete Freund's adjuvant supplemented with pertussis toxin. Spleen and lymph node cells from the co-induced animals were reactivated and subsequently injected into naïve mice as viable cells or as cell homogenates. Control groups were infected with viable and homogenized scrapie immune cells only with complete Freund's adjuvant. Prion disease incubation times as well as levels and sites of PrPSc deposition were next evaluated. Results We first show that acceleration of prion disease by experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis requires the presence of high levels of spleen PrPSc. Next, we present evidence that mice infected with activated prion-experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis viable cells succumb to prion disease considerably faster than do mice infected with equivalent cell extracts or other controls, concomitant with the deposition of PrPSc aggregates in white matter areas in brains and spinal cords. Conclusions Our results indicate that inflammatory targeting of viable prion-infected immune cells to the central nervous system accelerates prion disease propagation. We also show that in the absence of such targeting it is the load of PrPSc in the

  8. 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...

  9. A Practical Primer on Prion Pathology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Appleby, Brian S; Rhoads, Daniel D; Mente, Karin; Cohen, Mark L

    2018-03-28

    Prion diseases comprise a group of transmissible degenerative encephalopathies resulting from propagation of a misfolded cellular protein of uncertain function. As is generally the case with rare diseases, lack of institutional experience compromises individual familiarity with the varying, and apparently protean, manifestations of prion diseases, both clinically and pathologically. Coupled with the documented transmissibility of these diseases both within and between species, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has established the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center to both aid with diagnosis of prion disease and to survey the United States for evidence of zoonotic transmission. We have assembled this primer with the hope that our accumulated experience will enable the neuropathological community to help the CDC "save lives and protect people."

  10. 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.

  11. Identification of Major Signaling Pathways in Prion Disease Progression Using Network Analysis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Khalique Newaz

    Full Text Available Prion diseases are transmissible neurodegenerative diseases that arise due to conformational change of normal, cellular prion protein (PrPC to protease-resistant isofrom (rPrPSc. Deposition of misfolded PrpSc proteins leads to an alteration of many signaling pathways that includes immunological and apoptotic pathways. As a result, this culminates in the dysfunction and death of neuronal cells. Earlier works on transcriptomic studies have revealed some affected pathways, but it is not clear which is (are the prime network pathway(s that change during the disease progression and how these pathways are involved in crosstalks with each other from the time of incubation to clinical death. We perform network analysis on large-scale transcriptomic data of differentially expressed genes obtained from whole brain in six different mouse strain-prion strain combination models to determine the pathways involved in prion diseases, and to understand the role of crosstalks in disease propagation. We employ a notion of differential network centrality measures on protein interaction networks to identify the potential biological pathways involved. We also propose a crosstalk ranking method based on dynamic protein interaction networks to identify the core network elements involved in crosstalk with different pathways. We identify 148 DEGs (differentially expressed genes potentially related to the prion disease progression. Functional association of the identified genes implicates a strong involvement of immunological pathways. We extract a bow-tie structure that is potentially dysregulated in prion disease. We also propose an ODE model for the bow-tie network. Predictions related to diseased condition suggests the downregulation of the core signaling elements (PI3Ks and AKTs of the bow-tie network. In this work, we show using transcriptomic data that the neuronal dysfunction in prion disease is strongly related to the immunological pathways. We conclude that

  12. Pharmacological Agents Targeting the Cellular Prion Protein

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maria Letizia Barreca

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available Prion diseases are associated with the conversion of the cellular prion protein (PrPC, a glycoprotein expressed at the surface of a wide variety of cell types, into a misfolded conformer (the scrapie form of PrP, or PrPSc that accumulates in brain tissues of affected individuals. PrPSc is a self-catalytic protein assembly capable of recruiting native conformers of PrPC, and causing their rearrangement into new PrPSc molecules. Several previous attempts to identify therapeutic agents against prion diseases have targeted PrPSc, and a number of compounds have shown potent anti-prion effects in experimental models. Unfortunately, so far, none of these molecules has successfully been translated into effective therapies for prion diseases. Moreover, mounting evidence suggests that PrPSc might be a difficult pharmacological target because of its poorly defined structure, heterogeneous composition, and ability to generate different structural conformers (known as prion strains that can elude pharmacological intervention. In the last decade, a less intuitive strategy to overcome all these problems has emerged: targeting PrPC, the common substrate of any prion strain replication. This alternative approach possesses several technical and theoretical advantages, including the possibility of providing therapeutic effects also for other neurodegenerative disorders, based on recent observations indicating a role for PrPC in delivering neurotoxic signals of different misfolded proteins. Here, we provide an overview of compounds claimed to exert anti-prion effects by directly binding to PrPC, discussing pharmacological properties and therapeutic potentials of each chemical class.

  13. Asymptomatic deer excrete infectious prions in feces

    OpenAIRE

    Tamg?ney, G?ltekin; Miller, Michael W.; Wolfe, Lisa L.; Sirochman, Tracey M.; Glidden, David V.; Palmer, Christina; Lemus, Azucena; DeArmond, Stephen J.; Prusiner, Stanley B.

    2009-01-01

    Infectious prion diseases 1 ? scrapie of sheep 2 and chronic wasting disease (CWD) of several species in the deer family 3,4 ? are transmitted naturally within affected host populations. Although several possible sources of contagion have been identified in excretions and secretions from symptomatic animals 5?8 , the biological importance of these sources in sustaining epidemics remains unclear. Here we show that asymptomatic CWD-infected mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) excrete CWD prions in ...

  14. Asymptomatic deer excrete infectious prions in faeces

    OpenAIRE

    Tamgüney, G; Miller, MW; Wolfe, LL; Sirochman, TM; Glidden, DV; Palmer, C; Lemus, A; Dearmond, SJ; Prusiner, SB

    2009-01-01

    Infectious prion diseasesĝ€"scrapie of sheep and chronic wasting disease (CWD) of several species in the deer familyĝ€" are transmitted naturally within affected host populations. Although several possible sources of contagion have been identified in excretions and secretions from symptomatic animals, the biological importance of these sources in sustaining epidemics remains unclear. Here we show that asymptomatic CWD-infected mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) excrete CWD prions in their faeces...

  15. The role of dimerization in prion replication.

    OpenAIRE

    Tompa, Peter; Tusnády, Gábor E; Friedrich, Peter; Simon, István

    2002-01-01

    The central theme in prion diseases is the conformational transition of a cellular protein from a physiologic to a pathologic (so-called scrapie) state. Currently, two alternative models exist for the mechanism of this autocatalytic process; in the template assistance model the prion is assumed to be a monomer of the scrapie conformer, whereas in the nucleated polymerization model it is thought to be an amyloid rod. A recent variation on the latter assumes disulfide reshuffling as the mechani...

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Asymptomatic deer excrete infectious prions in feces

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tamgüney, Gültekin; Miller, Michael W.; Wolfe, Lisa L.; Sirochman, Tracey M.; Glidden, David V.; Palmer, Christina; Lemus, Azucena; DeArmond, Stephen J.; Prusiner, Stanley B.

    2011-01-01

    Infectious prion diseases 1 – scrapie of sheep 2 and chronic wasting disease (CWD) of several species in the deer family 3,4 – are transmitted naturally within affected host populations. Although several possible sources of contagion have been identified in excretions and secretions from symptomatic animals 5–8, the biological importance of these sources in sustaining epidemics remains unclear. Here we show that asymptomatic CWD-infected mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) excrete CWD prions in their feces long before they develop clinical signs of prion disease. Intracerebral (i.c.) inoculation of irradiated deer feces into transgenic (Tg) mice overexpressing cervid PrP revealed infectivity in 14 of 15 fecal samples collected from 5 deer at 7–11 months before the onset of neurological disease. Although prion concentrations in deer feces were considerably lower than in brain tissue from the same deer collected at the disease terminus, the estimated total infectious dose excreted in feces by an infected deer over the disease course may approximate the total contained in brain tissue. Prolonged fecal prion excretion by infected deer provides a plausible natural mechanism that might explain the high incidence and efficient horizontal transmission of CWD within deer herds 3,4,9, as well as prion transmission between susceptible deer species. PMID:19741608

  19. 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

  20. Understanding the human dimensions of a sustainable energy transition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steg, Linda; Perlaviciute, Goda; van der Werff, Ellen

    2015-01-01

    Global climate change threatens the health, economic prospects, and basic food and water sources of people. A wide range of changes in household energy behavior is needed to realize a sustainable energy transition. We propose a general framework to understand and encourage sustainable energy behaviors, comprising four key issues. First, we need to identify which behaviors need to be changed. A sustainable energy transition involves changes in a wide range of energy behaviors, including the adoption of sustainable energy sources and energy-efficient technology, investments in energy efficiency measures in buildings, and changes in direct and indirect energy use behavior. Second, we need to understand which factors underlie these different types of sustainable energy behaviors. We discuss three main factors that influence sustainable energy behaviors: knowledge, motivations, and contextual factors. Third, we need to test the effects of interventions aimed to promote sustainable energy behaviors. Interventions can be aimed at changing the actual costs and benefits of behavior, or at changing people's perceptions and evaluations of different costs and benefits of behavioral options. Fourth, it is important to understand which factors affect the acceptability of energy policies and energy systems changes. We discuss important findings from psychological studies on these four topics, and propose a research agenda to further explore these topics. We emphasize the need of an integrated approach in studying the human dimensions of a sustainable energy transition that increases our understanding of which general factors affect a wide range of energy behaviors as well as the acceptability of different energy policies and energy system changes.

  1. 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.

  2. Real-Time Quaking-Induced Conversion Detection of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Prions in a Subclinical Steer

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Soyoun Hwang

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE belongs to a group of fatal prion diseases that result from the misfolding of the cellular prion protein (PrPC into a pathogenic form (PrPSc that accumulates in the brain. In vitro assays such as serial protein misfolding amplification and real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC allow assessment of the conversion of PrPC to PrPSc. RT-QuIC can be used for the detection of prions in a variety of biological tissues from humans and animals. However, there is no such comparison of RT-QuIC data between BSE positive and presymptomatic cattle. Further, the current study assesses prion distribution in multiple brain regions of clinically ill or subclinical animals. Here, we compare RT-QuIC reactions seeded with brain samples collected from experimentally inoculated cattle that were clinically ill or subclinically affected with BSE. The results demonstrate RT-QuIC seeding in various brain regions of an animal with subclinical BSE despite being determined negative by immunohistochemistry. Bioassay of the subclinical animal and RT-QuIC of brainstem from inoculated knockout (PRNP−/− cattle were used to confirm infectivity in the subclinical animal and determine that RT-QuIC reactions were not the result of residual inoculum, respectively. These results confirm that RT-QuIC is a highly sensitive prion detection assay that can detect prions in a steer prior to the onset of clinical signs of BSE.

  3. Conformational stability of mammalian prion protein amyloid fibrils is dictated by a packing polymorphism within the core region.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cobb, Nathan J; Apostol, Marcin I; Chen, Shugui; Smirnovas, Vytautas; Surewicz, Witold K

    2014-01-31

    Mammalian prion strains are believed to arise from the propagation of distinct conformations of the misfolded prion protein PrP(Sc). One key operational parameter used to define differences between strains has been conformational stability of PrP(Sc) as defined by resistance to thermal and/or chemical denaturation. However, the structural basis of these stability differences is unknown. To bridge this gap, we have generated two strains of recombinant human prion protein amyloid fibrils that show dramatic differences in conformational stability and have characterized them by a number of biophysical methods. Backbone amide hydrogen/deuterium exchange experiments revealed that, in sharp contrast to previously studied strains of infectious amyloid formed from the yeast prion protein Sup35, differences in β-sheet core size do not underlie differences in conformational stability between strains of mammalian prion protein amyloid. Instead, these stability differences appear to be dictated by distinct packing arrangements (i.e. steric zipper interfaces) within the amyloid core, as indicated by distinct x-ray fiber diffraction patterns and large strain-dependent differences in hydrogen/deuterium exchange kinetics for histidine side chains within the core region. Although this study was limited to synthetic prion protein amyloid fibrils, a similar structural basis for strain-dependent conformational stability may apply to brain-derived PrP(Sc), especially because large strain-specific differences in PrP(Sc) stability are often observed despite a similar size of the PrP(Sc) core region.

  4. 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.

  5. Understanding and Predicting Human Behavior for Social Communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simoes, Jose; Magedanz, Thomas

    Over the last years, with the rapid advance in technology, it is becoming increasingly feasible for people to take advantage of the devices and services in the surrounding environment to remain "connected" and continuously enjoy the activity they are engaged in, be it sports, entertainment, or work. Such a ubiquitous computing environment will allow everyone permanent access to the Internet anytime, anywhere and anyhow [1]. Nevertheless, despite the evolution of services, social aspects remain in the roots of every human behavior and activities. Great examples of such phenomena are online social networks, which engage users in a way never seen before in the online world. At the same time, being aware and communicating context is a key part of human interaction and is a particularly powerful concept when applied to a community of users where services can be made more personalized and useful. Altogether, harvesting context to reason and learn about user behavior will further enhance the future multimedia vision where services can be composed and customized according to user context. Moreover, it will help us to understand users in a better way.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Quinacrine and its bioavailability in treatment of prion disease

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Šafařík, Martin; Moško, T.; Zawada, Z.; Dvořáková, E.; Holada, K.; Šebestík, Jaroslav

    2014-01-01

    Roč. 8, Suppl (2014), s. 112-113 ISSN 1933-6896. [PRION 2014. International Prion Congress. 27.05.2014-30.05.2014, Trieste] Grant - others:GA ČR(CZ) GAP303/12/1791 Institutional support: RVO:61388963 Keywords : quinacrine * prion disease Subject RIV: CE - Biochemistry

  9. 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.

  10. 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...

  11. 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.

  12. Infectious Prions in the Pregnancy Microenvironment of Chronic Wasting Disease-Infected Reeves' Muntjac Deer.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nalls, Amy V; McNulty, Erin; Hoover, Clare E; Pulscher, Laura A; Hoover, Edward A; Mathiason, Candace K

    2017-08-01

    Ample evidence exists for the presence of infectious agents at the maternal-fetal interface, often with grave outcomes to the developing fetus (i.e., Zika virus, brucella, cytomegalovirus, and toxoplasma). While less studied, pregnancy-related transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) have been implicated in several species, including humans. Our previous work has shown that prions can be transferred from mother to offspring, resulting in the development of clinical TSE disease in offspring born to muntjac dams infected with chronic wasting disease (CWD) (1). We further demonstrated protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA)-competent prions within the female reproductive tract and in fetal tissues harvested from CWD experimentally and naturally exposed cervids (1, 2). To assess whether the PMCA-competent prions residing at the maternal-fetal interface were infectious and to determine if the real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) methodology may enhance our ability to detect amyloid fibrils within the pregnancy microenvironment, we employed a mouse bioassay and RT-QuIC. In this study, we have demonstrated RT-QuIC seeding activity in uterus, placentome, ovary, and amniotic fluid but not in allantoic fluids harvested from CWD-infected Reeves' muntjac dams showing clinical signs of infection (clinically CWD-infected) and in some placentomes from pre-clinically CWD-infected dams. Prion infectivity was confirmed within the uterus, amniotic fluid, and the placentome, the semipermeable interface that sustains the developing fetus, of CWD-infected dams. This is the first report of prion infectivity within the cervid pregnancy microenvironment, revealing a source of fetal CWD exposure prior to the birthing process, maternal grooming, or encounters with contaminated environments. IMPORTANCE The facile dissemination of chronic wasting disease within captive and free-range cervid populations has led to questions regarding the transmission dynamics of this

  13. [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

  14. Optical techniques to understand biofunctional adaptation in human dentine

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kishen, Anil; Asundi, Anand K.

    2004-08-01

    Human tooth structure in the oral environment is subjected to mechanical forces and thermal fluctuations. Dentine, the major component of the tooth structure, is a bio-composite, mainly composed of a highly mineralized phase and a collagenous phase. When subjected to changes in load and/or temperature, dentine will experience stresses and strains distribution within their structure. Though such effects are found to cause deleterious effects on artificial dental restorations, biological structures such as dentine seem to posses an inherent ability to adapt to functional thermo-mechanical loads. Optical techniques enable visualization and quantification of deformation, strain and stress on dental structures and provide a better understanding on their thermo-mechanical response. In this study 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional digital photoelasticity, digital moiré interferometry and Electronic Speckle Pattern Interferometry (ESPI) are all shown to be quite promising in this application. This paper will highlight these techniques and the corresponding applications. These experiments will aid in designing and development of better dental restorations and implants in clinical practice.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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 ...

  20. Prions in control of cell glycosylation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hounsell, Elizabeth F

    2004-06-01

    Prion proteins that are normal cellular components or involved in pathology can vary little or not at all in primary amino acid sequence, but their glycosylation is different, e.g. in scrapie versus normal forms; in mouse strain-specific isolates; and in BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) and variant CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease) versus classical CJD. The results of Nielsen et al. published in this issue of the Biochemical Journal show that changes in glycosylation are not restricted to the prion. The paper comprehensively characterizes a decrease in the glycosylation of the insulin receptor in scrapie-infected neuroblastoma cells, but no change in glycosylation of the insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor. Thus the scrapie prion can influence glycosylation, not only of itself, but also of other selected cell glycoproteins.

  1. Dissection of conformational conversion events during prion amyloid fibril formation using hydrogen exchange and mass spectrometry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Singh, Jogender; Udgaonkar, Jayant B

    2013-09-23

    A molecular understanding of prion diseases requires an understanding of the mechanism of amyloid fibril formation by the prion protein. In particular, it is necessary to define the sequence of the structural events describing the conformational conversion of monomeric PrP to aggregated PrP. In this study, the sequence of the structural events in the case of amyloid fibril formation by recombinant mouse prion protein at pH7 has been characterized by hydrogen-deuterium exchange and mass spectrometry. The observation that fibrils are substantially more stable to hydrogen-deuterium exchange than is native monomer allows both forms to be quantified during the course of the aggregation reaction. Under the aggregation conditions utilized, native monomeric protein and amyloid fibrils are the only forms of the protein detectable during the course of the fibril formation reaction, suggesting that monomer directly adds on to the fibril template. Conformational conversion is shown to occur in two steps after the binding of monomer to fibril, with helix 1 unfolding only after helices 2 and 3 transform into β-sheet. Local stability in the β-sheet core region (residues ~159-225) of the fibrils is shown to be sequence dependent in that it varies along the length of the core, and local stability in protein molecules that are ordered in the structurally heterogeneous sequence segment 109-132 is shown to be similar to that in the core. This new understanding of the structural events during prion protein aggregation has important bearing on our comprehension of the molecular basis of prion pathogenesis. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. Understanding the Human Genome Project — A Fact Sheet | NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine

    Science.gov (United States)

    ... turn Javascript on. Feature: Genetics 101 Understanding the Human Genome Project — A Fact Sheet Past Issues / Summer 2013 ... body. This concerted, public effort was the Human Genome Project. The Human Genome Project's goal was to provide researchers with ...

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. The Role of Microglia in Prion Diseases: A Paradigm of Functional Diversity

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Juliane Obst

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available Inflammation is a major component of neurodegenerative diseases. Microglia are the innate immune cells in the central nervous system (CNS. In the healthy brain, microglia contribute to tissue homeostasis and regulation of synaptic plasticity. Under disease conditions, they play a key role in the development and maintenance of the neuroinflammatory response, by showing enhanced proliferation and activation. Prion diseases are progressive chronic neurodegenerative disorders associated with the accumulation of the scrapie prion protein PrPSc, a misfolded conformer of the cellular prion protein PrPC. This review article provides the current knowledge on the role of microglia in the pathogenesis of prion disease. A large body of evidence shows that microglia can trigger neurotoxic pathways contributing to progressive degeneration. Yet, microglia are also crucial for controlling inflammatory, repair and regenerative processes. This dual role of microglia is regulated by multiple pathways and evidences the ability of these cells to polarize into distinct phenotypes with characteristic functions. The awareness that the neuroinflammatory response is inextricably involved in producing tissue damage as well as repair in neurodegenerative disorders, opens new perspectives for the modulation of the immune system. A better understanding of this complex process will be essential for developing effective therapies for neurodegenerative diseases, in order to improve the quality of life of patients and mitigating the personal, economic and social consequences derived from these diseases.

  9. 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.

  10. 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...

  11. 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

  12. 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.)

  13. 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.)

  14. 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...

  15. Effect of fixation on brain and lymphoreticular vCJD prions and bioassay of key positive specimens from a retrospective vCJD prevalence study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wadsworth, Jonathan D F; Dalmau-Mena, Inmaculada; Joiner, Susan; Linehan, Jacqueline M; O'Malley, Catherine; Powell, Caroline; Brandner, Sebastian; Asante, Emmanuel A; Ironside, James W; Hilton, David A; Collinge, John

    2011-03-01

    Anonymous screening of lymphoreticular tissues removed during routine surgery has been applied to estimate the UK population prevalence of asymptomatic vCJD prion infection. The retrospective study of Hilton et al (J Pathol 2004; 203: 733-739) found accumulation of abnormal prion protein in three formalin-fixed appendix specimens. This led to an estimated UK prevalence of vCJD infection of ∼1 in 4000, which remains the key evidence supporting current risk reduction measures to reduce iatrogenic transmission of vCJD prions in the UK. Confirmatory testing of these positives has been hampered by the inability to perform immunoblotting of formalin-fixed tissue. Animal transmission studies offer the potential for 'gold standard' confirmatory testing but are limited by both transmission barrier effects and known effects of fixation on scrapie prion titre in experimental models. Here we report the effects of fixation on brain and lymphoreticular human vCJD prions and comparative bioassay of two of the three prevalence study formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) appendix specimens using transgenic mice expressing human prion protein (PrP). While transgenic mice expressing human PrP 129M readily reported vCJD prion infection after inoculation with frozen vCJD brain or appendix, and also FFPE vCJD brain, no infectivity was detected in FFPE vCJD spleen. No prion transmission was observed from either of the FFPE appendix specimens. The absence of detectable infectivity in fixed, known positive vCJD lymphoreticular tissue precludes interpreting negative transmissions from vCJD prevalence study appendix specimens. In this context, the Hilton et al study should continue to inform risk assessment pending the outcome of larger-scale studies on discarded surgical tissues and autopsy samples.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. The role of dimerization in prion replication.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tompa, Peter; Tusnády, Gábor E; Friedrich, Peter; Simon, István

    2002-04-01

    The central theme in prion diseases is the conformational transition of a cellular protein from a physiologic to a pathologic (so-called scrapie) state. Currently, two alternative models exist for the mechanism of this autocatalytic process; in the template assistance model the prion is assumed to be a monomer of the scrapie conformer, whereas in the nucleated polymerization model it is thought to be an amyloid rod. A recent variation on the latter assumes disulfide reshuffling as the mechanism of polymerization. The existence of stable dimers, let alone their mechanistic role, is not taken into account in either of these models. In this paper we review evidence supporting that the dimerization of either the normal or the scrapie state, or both, has a decisive role in prion replication. The contribution of redox changes, i.e., the temporary opening and possible rearrangement of the intramolecular disulfide bridge is also considered. We present a model including these features largely ignored so far and show that it adheres satisfactorily to the observed phenomenology of prion replication.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Understanding Women\\'s Economic And Social Human Rights ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    This article considers the evolution of women\\'s rights in international human rights law. It then moves on to consider the gender dimension of economic, social and cultural rights before examining constraints to their enjoyment and enforcement. East African Journal of Peace and Human Rights Vol. 12 (2) 2006: pp. 232-253 ...

  4. 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…

  5. The active role played by human learners is key to understanding the efficacy of teaching in humans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ronfard, Samuel; Harris, Paul L

    2015-01-01

    The early developing capacity of human learners to seek out reliable informants, initiate pedagogical episodes, and monitor and redirect ongoing instruction is critical to understanding humans' remarkable capacity for cumulative culture.

  6. Mutant PrPSc Conformers Induced by a Synthetic Peptide and Several Prion Strains

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tremblay, Patrick; Ball, Haydn L.; Kaneko, Kiyotoshi; Groth, Darlene; Hegde, Ramanujan S.; Cohen, Fred E.; DeArmond, Stephen J.; Prusiner, Stanley B.; Safar, Jiri G.

    2004-01-01

    Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker (GSS) disease is a dominantly inherited, human prion disease caused by a mutation in the prion protein (PrP) gene. One mutation causing GSS is P102L, denoted P101L in mouse PrP (MoPrP). In a line of transgenic mice denoted Tg2866, the P101L mutation in MoPrP produced neurodegeneration when expressed at high levels. MoPrPSc(P101L) was detected both by the conformation-dependent immunoassay and after protease digestion at 4°C. Transmission of prions from the brains of Tg2866 mice to those of Tg196 mice expressing low levels of MoPrP(P101L) was accompanied by accumulation of protease-resistant MoPrPSc(P101L) that had previously escaped detection due to its low concentration. This conformer exhibited characteristics similar to those found in brain tissue from GSS patients. Earlier, we demonstrated that a synthetic peptide harboring the P101L mutation and folded into a β-rich conformation initiates GSS in Tg196 mice (29). Here we report that this peptide-induced disease can be serially passaged in Tg196 mice and that the PrP conformers accompanying disease progression are conformationally indistinguishable from MoPrPSc(P101L) found in Tg2866 mice developing spontaneous prion disease. In contrast to GSS prions, the 301V, RML, and 139A prion strains produced large amounts of protease-resistant PrPSc in the brains of Tg196 mice. Our results argue that MoPrPSc(P101L) may exist in at least several different conformations, each of which is biologically active. Such conformations occurred spontaneously in Tg2866 mice expressing high levels of MoPrPC(P101L) as well as in Tg196 mice expressing low levels of MoPrPC(P101L) that were inoculated with brain extracts from ill Tg2866 mice, with a synthetic peptide with the P101L mutation and folded into a β-rich structure, or with prions recovered from sheep with scrapie or cattle with bovine spongiform encephalopathy. PMID:14747574

  7. Towards an understanding of British public attitudes concerning human cloning.

    OpenAIRE

    Shepherd, Richard; Barnett, Julie; Cooper, Helen; Coyle, Adrian; Moran-Ellis, Jo; Senior, Victoria; Walton, Chris

    2007-01-01

    This is a post-print version. The official published version can be accessed from the link below - Copyright @ 2007 Elsevier Ltd. 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...

  8. 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.

  9. In vitro replication highlights the mutability of prions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vanni, Ilaria; Di Bari, Michele Angelo; Pirisinu, Laura; D'Agostino, Claudia; Agrimi, Umberto; Nonno, Romolo

    2014-01-01

    Prions exist as strains, which are thought to reflect PrP(Sc) conformational variants. Prion strains can mutate and it has been proposed that prion mutability depends on an intrinsic heterogeneity of prion populations that would behave as quasispecies. We investigated in vitro prion mutability of 2 strains, by following PrP(Sc) variations of populations serially propagated in PMCA under constant environmental pressure. Each strain was propagated either at low dilution of the seed, i.e., by large population passages, or at limiting dilution, mimicking bottleneck events. In both strains, PrP(Sc) conformational variants were identified only after large population passages, while repeated bottleneck events caused a rapid decline in amplification rates. These findings support the view that mutability is an intrinsic property of prions.

  10. 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

  11. Reversion of prion protein conformational changes by synthetic beta-sheet breaker peptides.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soto, C; Kascsak, R J; Saborío, G P; Aucouturier, P; Wisniewski, T; Prelli, F; Kascsak, R; Mendez, E; Harris, D A; Ironside, J; Tagliavini, F; Carp, R I; Frangione, B

    2000-01-15

    Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies are associated with a structural transition in the prion protein that results in the conversion of the physiological PrPc to pathological PrP(Sc). We investigated whether this conformational transition can be inhibited and reversed by peptides homologous to the PrP fragments implicated in the abnormal folding, which contain specific residues acting as beta-sheet blockers (beta-sheet breaker peptides). We studied the effect of a 13-residue beta-sheet breaker peptide (iPrP13) on the reversion of the abnormal structure and properties of PrP(Sc) purified from the brains of mice with experimental scrapie and from human beings affected by sporadic and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. In a cellular model of familial prion disease, we studied the effect of the peptide in the production of the abnormal form of PrP in intact cells. The influence of the peptide on prion infectivity was studied in vivo by incubation time assays in mice with experimental scrapie. The beta-sheet breaker peptide partly reversed in-vitro PrP(Sc) to a biochemical and structural state similar to that of PrPc. The effect of the peptide was also detected in intact cells. Treatment of prion infectious material with iPrP13 delayed the appearance of clinical symptoms and decreased infectivity by 90-95% in mice with experimental scrapie. Beta-sheet breaker peptides reverse PrP conformational changes implicated in the pathogenesis of spongiform encephalopathies. These peptides or their derivatives provide a useful tool to study the role of PrP conformation and might represent a novel therapeutic approach for prion-related disorders.

  12. Asparagine and glutamine ladders promote cross-species prion conversion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kurt, Timothy D; Aguilar-Calvo, Patricia; Jiang, Lin; Rodriguez, José A; Alderson, Nazilla; Eisenberg, David S; Sigurdson, Christina J

    2017-11-17

    Prion transmission between species is governed in part by primary sequence similarity between the infectious prion aggregate, PrP Sc , and the cellular prion protein of the host, PrP C A puzzling feature of prion formation is that certain PrP C sequences, such as that of bank vole, can be converted by a remarkably broad array of different mammalian prions, whereas others, such as rabbit, show robust resistance to cross-species prion conversion. To examine the structural determinants that confer susceptibility or resistance to prion conversion, we systematically tested over 40 PrP C variants of susceptible and resistant PrP C sequences in a prion conversion assay. Five key residue positions markedly impacted prion conversion, four of which were in steric zipper segments where side chains from amino acids tightly interdigitate in a dry interface. Strikingly, all five residue substitutions modulating prion conversion involved the gain or loss of an asparagine or glutamine residue. For two of the four positions, Asn and Gln residues were not interchangeable, revealing a strict requirement for either an Asn or Gln residue. Bank voles have a high number of Asn and Gln residues and a high Asn:Gln ratio. These findings suggest that a high number of Asn and Gln residues at specific positions may stabilize β-sheets and lower the energy barrier for cross-species prion transmission, potentially because of hydrogen bond networks from side chain amides forming extended Asn/Gln ladders. These data also suggest that multiple PrP C segments containing Asn/Gln residues may act in concert along a replicative interface to promote prion conversion. © 2017 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

  13. 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…

  14. Understanding the human dimensions of a sustainable energy transition

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Steg, Linda; Perlaviciute, Goda; van der Werff, Ellen

    2015-01-01

    Global climate change threatens the health, economic prospects, and basic food and water sources of people. A wide range of changes in household energy behavior is needed to realize a sustainable energy transition. We propose a general framework to understand and encourage sustainable energy

  15. Transmission of Elk and Deer Prions to Transgenic Mice†

    OpenAIRE

    Tamgüney, Gültekin; Giles, Kurt; Bouzamondo-Bernstein, Essia; Bosque, Patrick J.; Miller, Michael W.; Safar, Jiri; DeArmond, Stephen J.; Prusiner, Stanley B.

    2006-01-01

    Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal prion disease in deer and elk. Unique among the prion diseases, it is transmitted among captive and free-ranging animals. To facilitate studies of the biology of CWD prions, we generated five lines of transgenic (Tg) mice expressing prion protein (PrP) from Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni), denoted Tg(ElkPrP), and two lines of Tg mice expressing PrP common to white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), den...

  16. 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.

  17. 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…

  18. 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…

  19. 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.

  20. A Visual Analytic for Improving Human Terrain Understanding

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-06-01

    Global Graph was used that consisted of a PostgreSQL database and associated web services for searching and updating the database. A REST...and allow human interpretation. HDPT Component Overview PostgreSQL DBS Apache Tomcat Web Server [’...... _./ Globa l Graph Web ~ Application

  1. 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 ...

  2. Measuring and Understanding Public Opinion on Human Evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gwon, Misook

    2012-01-01

    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…

  3. 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…

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. Anti-Prion Screening for Acridine, Dextran, and Tannic Acid using Real Time-Quaking Induced Conversion: A Comparison with PrPSc-Infected Cell Screening.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jae Wook Hyeon

    Full Text Available Prion propagation is mediated by the structural alteration of normal prion protein (PrPC to generate pathogenic prion protein (PrPSc. To date, compounds for the inhibition of prion propagation have mainly been screened using PrPSc-infected cells. Real time-quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC is one alternative screening method. In this study, we assessed the propagation inhibition effects of known anti-prion compounds using RT-QuIC and compared the results with those from a PrPSc-infected cell assay. Compounds were applied to RT-QuIC reactions at 0 h or 22 h after prion propagation to determine whether they inhibited propagation or reduced amplified aggregates. RT-QuIC reactions in presence of acridine, dextran sulfate sodium (DSS, and tannic acid inhibited seeded aggregation with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease at 0 h. After treatment at 22 h, amplified fluorescence was decreased in wells treated with either acridine or tannic acid. Compound activities were verified by western blot of RT-QuIC products and in a dye-independent conversion assay, the Multimer Detection System. Protease K-resistant PrPSc fragments (PrPres were reduced by DSS and tannic acid in the PrPSc-infected cell assay. Importantly, these inhibitory effects were similar despite different treatment times (0 h versus 3 days. Consequentially, RT-QuIC enabled the more specific classification of compounds according to action (i.e., inhibition of prion propagation versus reduction of amplified aggregates. RT-QuIC addresses the limitations of cell-based screening methods and can be used to further aid our understanding of the mechanisms of action of anti-prion compounds.

  7. Anti-Prion Screening for Acridine, Dextran, and Tannic Acid using Real Time-Quaking Induced Conversion: A Comparison with PrPSc-Infected Cell Screening.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hyeon, Jae Wook; Kim, Su Yeon; Lee, Sol Moe; Lee, Jeongmin; An, Seong Soo A; Lee, Myung Koo; Lee, Yeong Seon

    2017-01-01

    Prion propagation is mediated by the structural alteration of normal prion protein (PrPC) to generate pathogenic prion protein (PrPSc). To date, compounds for the inhibition of prion propagation have mainly been screened using PrPSc-infected cells. Real time-quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) is one alternative screening method. In this study, we assessed the propagation inhibition effects of known anti-prion compounds using RT-QuIC and compared the results with those from a PrPSc-infected cell assay. Compounds were applied to RT-QuIC reactions at 0 h or 22 h after prion propagation to determine whether they inhibited propagation or reduced amplified aggregates. RT-QuIC reactions in presence of acridine, dextran sulfate sodium (DSS), and tannic acid inhibited seeded aggregation with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease at 0 h. After treatment at 22 h, amplified fluorescence was decreased in wells treated with either acridine or tannic acid. Compound activities were verified by western blot of RT-QuIC products and in a dye-independent conversion assay, the Multimer Detection System. Protease K-resistant PrPSc fragments (PrPres) were reduced by DSS and tannic acid in the PrPSc-infected cell assay. Importantly, these inhibitory effects were similar despite different treatment times (0 h versus 3 days). Consequentially, RT-QuIC enabled the more specific classification of compounds according to action (i.e., inhibition of prion propagation versus reduction of amplified aggregates). RT-QuIC addresses the limitations of cell-based screening methods and can be used to further aid our understanding of the mechanisms of action of anti-prion compounds.

  8. Applying artificial vision models to human scene understanding.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aminoff, Elissa M; Toneva, Mariya; Shrivastava, Abhinav; Chen, Xinlei; Misra, Ishan; Gupta, Abhinav; Tarr, Michael J

    2015-01-01

    How do we understand the complex patterns of neural responses that underlie scene understanding? Studies of the network of brain regions held to be scene-selective-the parahippocampal/lingual region (PPA), the retrosplenial complex (RSC), and the occipital place area (TOS)-have typically focused on single visual dimensions (e.g., size), rather than the high-dimensional feature space in which scenes are likely to be neurally represented. Here we leverage well-specified artificial vision systems to explicate a more complex understanding of how scenes are encoded in this functional network. We correlated similarity matrices within three different scene-spaces arising from: (1) BOLD activity in scene-selective brain regions; (2) behavioral measured judgments of visually-perceived scene similarity; and (3) several different computer vision models. These correlations revealed: (1) models that relied on mid- and high-level scene attributes showed the highest correlations with the patterns of neural activity within the scene-selective network; (2) NEIL and SUN-the models that best accounted for the patterns obtained from PPA and TOS-were different from the GIST model that best accounted for the pattern obtained from RSC; (3) The best performing models outperformed behaviorally-measured judgments of scene similarity in accounting for neural data. One computer vision method-NEIL ("Never-Ending-Image-Learner"), which incorporates visual features learned as statistical regularities across web-scale numbers of scenes-showed significant correlations with neural activity in all three scene-selective regions and was one of the two models best able to account for variance in the PPA and TOS. We suggest that these results are a promising first step in explicating more fine-grained models of neural scene understanding, including developing a clearer picture of the division of labor among the components of the functional scene-selective brain network.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Understanding Human Security

    OpenAIRE

    Inglehart, Ronald F.; Norris, Pippa

    2011-01-01

    Since the end of the Cold War, security studies have broadened to take into account a wide range of non-military threats ranging from poverty to environmental concerns rather than just national defense. Security scholars, backed by international organizations and a growing number of national governments, have developed the concept of Human Security, focusing on the welfare of ordinary people against a broad range of threats. This has aroused vigorous debate. Part I of this paper proposes an a...

  12. 3D Data Acquisition Platform for Human Activity Understanding

    Science.gov (United States)

    2016-03-02

    Enter List of papers submitted or published that acknowledge ARO support from the start of the project to the date of this printing . List the papers...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

  13. Human Heuristics: Understanding the Impacts for Pharmaceutical Quality Risk Management

    OpenAIRE

    Calnan, Nuala

    2011-01-01

    This paper addresses the influence of human heuristics (Biases) on the assessment of risk. A core principle underpinning effective Risk Management is the principle that Risk Management explicitly addresses uncertainty i.e., that it explicitly takes account of uncertainty, the nature of that uncertainty, and how it can be addressed. Heuristics are cognitive behaviours which come into play when we make judgements in the presence of uncertainty. How these behaviours are manifested is still the s...

  14. 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

  15. Reduction of prion infectivity and levels of scrapie prion protein by lithium aluminum hydride: implications for RNA in prion diseases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jeong, Byung-Hoon; Kim, Nam-Ho; Jin, Jae-Kwang; Choi, Jin-Kyu; Lee, Yun-Jung; Kim, Jae-Il; Choi, Eun-Kyoung; Carp, Richard I; Kim, Yong-Sun

    2009-08-01

    Previous studies indicate that RNA may be required for proteinase-resistant prion protein (PrP) amplification and for infectious prion formation in vitro, suggesting that RNA molecules may function as cellular cofactors for abnormal PrP (PrPSc) formation and become part of the structure of the infectious agent. To address this question, we used chemicals that can cleave phosphodiester bonds of RNA and assessed their effects on the infectious agent. Lithium aluminum hydride, a reducing agent that can induce reductive cleavage of oxidized molecules such as carbonyls, carboxyl acids, esters, and phosphodiester bonds, did not affect cellular PrP degradation; however, it destroyed PrPSc, extended the scrapie incubation period, and markedly reduced total RNA concentrations. These results prompted us to investigate whether RNA molecules are cofactors for PrPSc propagation. RNase A treatment of partially purified PrP and of 263K scrapie brain homogenates was sufficient to increase the sensitivity of PrPSc to proteinase K degradation. This is the first evidence that suggests that RNA molecules are a component of PrPSc. Treatment with RNase A alone and PrP degradation by RNase A plus proteinase K in vitro, however, did not result in loss of scrapie infectivity compared with the effects of lithium aluminum hydride. Together, these data suggest that RNA molecules may be important for maintaining the structure of PrPSc and that oxidized molecules can be important in scrapie agent replication and prion infectivity.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Can human movement analysis contribute to usability understanding?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Belda-Lois, Juan-Manuel; de-Rosario, Helios; Pons, Romà; Poveda, Rakel; Morón, Ana; Porcar, Rosa; García, Ana-Cruz; Gómez, Amelia

    2010-08-01

    Nowadays human-machine interfaces are evaluated using different methodologies. These methodologies rarely consider the human movements involved in the interaction, and if so, the movements are considered in a simplistic manner. Another often neglected aspect is the relationship between the learning process and the use of the interface. Traditional approaches of cognitive modeling consider learning as just one continuous process. However there is some current evidence of concurrent processes on different time scales. This paper aims to answer, with experimental measurements, if learning actually implies a set of concurrent processes, if those processes are related to the coordinative aspects of hand movement, and how this can vary between young adult and elderly users. Two different interfaces, a washing machine and a domotic system, were analyzed with 23 and 20 people, respectively, classified as men or women and elderly (over 55) or adult (between 40 and 50). The results of the study provide support for the existence of different concurrent processes in learning, previously demonstrated for motor tasks. Moreover, the learning process is actually associated with changes in movement patterns. Finally, the results show that the progression of the learning process depends on age, although elderly people are equally capable of learning to use technological systems as young adults. Copyright 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  20. 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.

  1. The structural core of prion disease

    OpenAIRE

    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 can be observed in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In TSEs, Alzheimer’s disease, and some more protein folding diseases a key factor in the pathogenesis is the deposition of aggregated aber...

  2. 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.

  3. Olfactory sex recognition investigated in Antarctic prions.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Francesco Bonadonna

    Full Text Available Chemical signals can yield information about an animal such as its identity, social status or sex. Such signals have rarely been considered in birds, but recent results have shown that chemical signals are actually used by different bird species to find food and to recognize their home and nest. This is particularly true in petrels whose olfactory anatomy is among the most developed in birds. Recently, we have demonstrated that Antarctic prions, Pachyptila desolata, are also able to recognize and follow the odour of their partner in a Y-maze.However, the experimental protocol left unclear whether this choice reflected an olfactory recognition of a particular individual (i.e. partner or a more general sex recognition mechanism. To test this second hypothesis, male and female birds' odours were presented simultaneously to 54 Antarctic prions in a Y-maze. Results showed random behaviour by the tested bird, independent of its sex or reproductive status. Present results do not support the possibility that Antarctic prions can distinguish the sex of a conspecific through its odour but indirectly support the hypothesis that they can distinguish individual odours.

  4. Molecular Dynamics Simulations Capture the Misfolding of the Bovine Prion Protein at Acidic pH

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chin Jung Cheng

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or mad cow disease, is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that is transmissible to humans and that is currently incurable. BSE is caused by the prion protein (PrP, which adopts two conformers; PrPC is the native innocuous form, which is α-helix rich; and PrPSc is the β-sheet rich misfolded form, which is infectious and forms neurotoxic species. Acidic pH induces the conversion of PrPC to PrPSc. We have performed molecular dynamics simulations of bovine PrP at various pH regimes. An acidic pH environment induced conformational changes that were not observed in neutral pH simulations. Putative misfolded structures, with nonnative β-strands formed in the flexible N-terminal domain, were found in acidic pH simulations. Two distinct pathways were observed for the formation of nonnative β-strands: at low pH, hydrophobic contacts with M129 nucleated the nonnative β-strand; at mid-pH, polar contacts involving Q168 and D178 facilitated the formation of a hairpin at the flexible N-terminus. These mid- and low pH simulations capture the process of nonnative β-strand formation, thereby improving our understanding of how PrPC misfolds into the β-sheet rich PrPSc and how pH factors into the process.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roger A Moore

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available 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.

  8. 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; Pyo Choi, Young; Priola, Suzette A.

    2016-01-01

    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 (PrPSc). The origin of sCJD is unknown, although the initiating event is thought to be the stochastic misfolding of endogenous prion protein (PrPC) into infectious PrPSc. 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 PrPSc. 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 PrPC allotype to PrPSc in heterozygous cases of CJD is unknown. Using mass spectrometry, we determined that the relative abundance of PrPSc with M or V at residue 129 in brain specimens from MV cases of sCJD was highly variable. This result is consistent with PrPC containing an M or V at residue 129 having a similar propensity to misfold into PrPSc thus causing sCJD. By contrast, PrPSc with V at residue 129 predominated in the majority of the UK human growth hormone associated iCJD cases, consistent with exposure to infectious PrPSc containing V at residue 129. In both types of CJD, the PrPSc allotype ratio had no correlation with CJD type, age at clinical onset, or disease duration. Therefore, factors other than PrPSc allotype abundance must influence the clinical progression and phenotype of heterozygous cases of CJD. PMID:26840342

  9. Bootstrapping Q Methodology to Improve the Understanding of Human Perspectives

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zabala, Aiora; Pascual, Unai

    2016-01-01

    Q is a semi-qualitative methodology to identify typologies of perspectives. It is appropriate to address questions concerning diverse viewpoints, plurality of discourses, or participation processes across disciplines. Perspectives are interpreted based on rankings of a set of statements. These rankings are analysed using multivariate data reduction techniques in order to find similarities between respondents. Discussing the analytical process and looking for progress in Q methodology is becoming increasingly relevant. While its use is growing in social, health and environmental studies, the analytical process has received little attention in the last decades and it has not benefited from recent statistical and computational advances. Specifically, the standard procedure provides overall and arguably simplistic variability measures for perspectives and none of these measures are associated to individual statements, on which the interpretation is based. This paper presents an innovative approach of bootstrapping Q to obtain additional and more detailed measures of variability, which helps researchers understand better their data and the perspectives therein. This approach provides measures of variability that are specific to each statement and perspective, and additional measures that indicate the degree of certainty with which each respondent relates to each perspective. This supplementary information may add or subtract strength to particular arguments used to describe the perspectives. We illustrate and show the usefulness of this approach with an empirical example. The paper provides full details for other researchers to implement the bootstrap in Q studies with any data collection design. PMID:26845694

  10. Bootstrapping Q Methodology to Improve the Understanding of Human Perspectives.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zabala, Aiora; Pascual, Unai

    2016-01-01

    Q is a semi-qualitative methodology to identify typologies of perspectives. It is appropriate to address questions concerning diverse viewpoints, plurality of discourses, or participation processes across disciplines. Perspectives are interpreted based on rankings of a set of statements. These rankings are analysed using multivariate data reduction techniques in order to find similarities between respondents. Discussing the analytical process and looking for progress in Q methodology is becoming increasingly relevant. While its use is growing in social, health and environmental studies, the analytical process has received little attention in the last decades and it has not benefited from recent statistical and computational advances. Specifically, the standard procedure provides overall and arguably simplistic variability measures for perspectives and none of these measures are associated to individual statements, on which the interpretation is based. This paper presents an innovative approach of bootstrapping Q to obtain additional and more detailed measures of variability, which helps researchers understand better their data and the perspectives therein. This approach provides measures of variability that are specific to each statement and perspective, and additional measures that indicate the degree of certainty with which each respondent relates to each perspective. This supplementary information may add or subtract strength to particular arguments used to describe the perspectives. We illustrate and show the usefulness of this approach with an empirical example. The paper provides full details for other researchers to implement the bootstrap in Q studies with any data collection design.

  11. Integrity of H1 helix in prion protein revealed by molecular dynamic simulations to be especially vulnerable to changes in the relative orientation of H1 and its S1 flank

    OpenAIRE

    Tseng, Chih-Yuan; Yu, Chun-Ping; Lee, HC

    2006-01-01

    In the template-assistance model, normal prion protein (PrPC), the pathogenic cause of prion diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob (CJD) in human, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in cow, and scrapie in sheep, converts to infectious prion (PrPSc) through an autocatalytic process triggered by a transient interaction between PrPC and PrPSc. Conventional studies suggest the S1-H1-S2 region in PrPC to be the template of S1-S2 $\\beta$-sheet in PrPSc, and the conformational conversion of PrPC in...

  12. Structure-activity studies of heparan mimetic polyanions for anti-prion therapies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ouidja, Mohand-Ouidir; Petit, Emmanuel; Kerros, Marie-Emmanuelle; Ikeda, Yasunori; Morin, Christophe; Carpentier, Gilles; Barritault, Denis; Brugère-Picoux, Jeanne; Deslys, Jean-Philippe; Adjou, Karim; Papy-Garcia, Dulce

    2007-11-09

    Polysulfated molecules, as the family of heparan mimetics (HMs) and pentosan polysulfate, are considered among the more promising drugs used in experimental models of prion diseases. Regardless of their therapeutic potential, structure-function studies on these polyanions are still missing. Here, we report the syntheses of a library of HMs of different molecular sizes, containing various sulfation and carboxylation levels, and substituted or not by different hydrophobic cores. The HMs capacities to inhibit the accumulation of PrPres in chronically infected cells (ScGT1-7) and their PrPc binding abilities were examined. Our results showed that an optimal size and sulfation degree are needed for optimum activity, that incorporation of hydrophobic moieties increases compounds efficacy and that the presence of carboxymethyl moieties decreases it. These structural features should be considered on the modelling of polyanionic compounds for optimum anti-prion activities and for advancing in the understanding the mechanisms involved in their biological actions.

  13. 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.

  14. Prion pathogenesis in the absence of NLRP3/ASC inflammasomes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mario Nuvolone

    Full Text Available The accumulation of the scrapie prion protein PrPSc, a misfolded conformer of the cellular prion protein PrPC, is a crucial feature of prion diseases. In the central nervous system, this process is accompanied by conspicuous microglia activation. The NLRP3 inflammasome is a multi-molecular complex which can sense heterogeneous pathogen-associated molecular patterns and culminates in the activation of caspase 1 and release of IL 1β. The NLRP3 inflammasome was reported to be essential for IL 1β release after in vitro exposure to the amyloidogenic peptide PrP106-126 and to recombinant PrP fibrils. We therefore studied the role of the NLRP3 inflammasome in a mouse model of prion infection. Upon intracerebral inoculation with scrapie prions (strain RML, mice lacking NLRP3 (Nlrp3-/- or the inflammasome adaptor protein ASC (Pycard-/- succumbed to scrapie with attack rates and incubation times similar to wild-type mice, and developed the classic histologic and biochemical features of prion diseases. Genetic ablation of NLRP3 or ASC did not significantly impact on brain levels of IL 1β at the terminal stage of disease. Our results exclude a significant role for NLRP3 and ASC in prion pathogenesis and invalidate their claimed potential as therapeutic target against prion diseases.

  15. Prion protein gene polymorphisms in Turkish native goat breeds

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    HASAN MEYDAN

    Susceptibility to 'scrapie' disease in goats is influenced by polymorphisms of the prion protein (PRNP) gene. The aim of ... [Meydan H., Pehlivan E., Özkan M. M., Yildiz M. A. and Goldmann W. 2017 Prion protein gene polymorphisms in Turkish native goat breeds. ... Anatolia and contribute to the livelihood of resource-poor.

  16. 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

  17. Prion protein gene polymorphisms in Turkish native goat breeds

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    HASAN MEYDAN

    Susceptibility to 'scrapie' disease in goats is influenced by polymorphisms of the prion protein (PRNP) gene. The aim of ... [Meydan H., Pehlivan E., Özkan M. M., Yildiz M. A. and Goldmann W. 2017 Prion protein gene polymorphisms in Turkish native goat breeds. .... C. PCR products were resolved by electrophoresis on 2%.

  18. 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, ...

  19. Interaction between a recombinant prion protein and organo-mineral complexes as evidenced by CPMAS 13C-NMR

    Science.gov (United States)

    Russo, F.; Scotti, R.; Gianfreda, L.; Conte, P.; Rao, M. A.

    2009-04-01

    between a non pathogenic ovine recombinant prion protein and a model soil system represented by a manganese oxide in the form of birnessite (δ-MnO2), coated with a polymerized catechol. To better understand the effect of the polymerization process, PrP was added to the birnessite-cathecol system either before or after the polymerization processes. The NMR spectra of the prion protein interacting directly with birnessite revealed disappearance of the signals due to the paramagnetic nature of manganese oxide or abiotic degradation. Conversely, the signal pattern of the protein re-appeared as it is mixed to the soil-like system either during or after the catechol polymerization process. Results suggested that the possible interactions of the prion protein on soil systems can be mediated by natural organic matter. However, deeper studies on more complex real soil systems are needed to definitely confirm such hypothesis.

  20. 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.

  1. Effects of human PrPSc type and PRNP genotype in an in-vitro conversion assay.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, Michael; Peden, Alexander H; Wight, Darren; Prowse, Christopher; Macgregor, Ian; Manson, Jean; Turner, Marc; Ironside, James W; Head, Mark W

    2008-12-03

    Prion protein type and codon 129 genotype are thought to be major determinants of susceptibility and phenotype in human prion diseases. Using an in-vitro system (protein misfolding cyclic amplification) we have attempted to model human prion protein conversion using the abnormal prion protein associated with each of the major sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease subtypes, in substrates containing the normal cellular form of the prion protein of each of the three possible human PRNP codon 129 polymorphic genotypes. The prion protein type is converted with fidelity in these amplification reactions, but the efficiency of conversion depends both on the methionine/valine polymorphic status of the sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease seed and substrate homogenate, and on the abnormal prion protein type.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leliveld, Sirik Rutger; Dame, Remus Thei; Wuite, Gijs J L; Stitz, Lothar; Korth, Carsten

    2006-02-10

    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 (PrPC) into the pathogenic conformer PrPSc, which subsequently induces further conversion in an autocatalytic manner. Apparently, an expanded octarepeat domain directs folding of PrP toward the PrPSc conformation and initiates a self-replicating conversion process. Here, based on three main observations, we have provided a model on how altered molecular interactions between wild-type and mutant PrP set the stage for familial Creutzfeldt Jakob disease with octarepeat insertions. First, we showed that wild-type octarepeat domains interact in a copper-dependent and reversible manner, a "copper switch." This interaction becomes irreversible upon domain expansion, possibly reflecting a loss of function. Second, expanded octarepeat domains of increasing length gradually form homogenous globular multimers of 11-21 nm in the absence of copper ions when expressed as soluble glutathione S-transferase fusion proteins. Third, octarepeat domain expansion causes a gain of function with at least 10 repeats selectively binding PrPSc in a denaturant-resistant complex in the absence of copper ions. Thus, the combination of both a loss and gain of function profoundly influences homomeric interaction behavior of PrP with an expanded octarepeat domain. A multimeric cluster of prion proteins carrying expanded octarepeat domains may therefore capture and incorporate spontaneously arising short-lived PrPSc-like conformers, thereby providing a matrix for their conversion.

  3. 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

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The clinical signs of the disease in humans vary, but commonly include personality changes, psychiatric problems such as depression, lack of coordination and/or an unsteady gait (ataxia). Patients also may experience involuntary jerking movements called myoclonus, unusual sensation, insomnia, and confusion or ...

  5. 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

  6. Insights into alternative prion protein topologies induced under high hydrostatic pressure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Torrent, Joan; Alvarez-Martinez, Maria Teresa; Heitz, Frédéric; Liautard, Jean-Pierre; Balny, Claude; Lange, Reinhard

    2004-04-01

    The critical step in the pathogenesis of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) appears to be a conformational transition of a normal prion protein (PrPC) into a misfolded isoform (PrPSc). 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 agr-helical structure is changed into a highly aggregated bgr-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.

  7. Selective processing and metabolism of disease-causing mutant prion proteins.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aarthi Ashok

    2009-06-01

    Full Text Available Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative disorders caused by aberrant metabolism of the cellular prion protein (PrP(C. In genetic forms of these diseases, mutations in the globular C-terminal domain are hypothesized to favor the spontaneous generation of misfolded PrP conformers (including the transmissible PrP(Sc form that trigger downstream pathways leading to neuronal death. A mechanistic understanding of these diseases therefore requires knowledge of the quality control pathways that recognize and degrade aberrant PrPs. Here, we present comparative analyses of the biosynthesis, trafficking, and metabolism of a panel of genetic disease-causing prion protein mutants in the C-terminal domain. Using quantitative imaging and biochemistry, we identify a misfolded subpopulation of each mutant PrP characterized by relative detergent insolubility, inaccessibility to the cell surface, and incomplete glycan modifications. The misfolded populations of mutant PrPs were neither recognized by ER quality control pathways nor routed to ER-associated degradation despite demonstrable misfolding in the ER. Instead, mutant PrPs trafficked to the Golgi, from where the misfolded subpopulation was selectively trafficked for degradation in acidic compartments. Surprisingly, selective re-routing was dependent not only on a mutant globular domain, but on an additional lysine-based motif in the highly conserved unstructured N-terminus. These results define a specific trafficking and degradation pathway shared by many disease-causing PrP mutants. As the acidic lysosomal environment has been implicated in facilitating the conversion of PrP(C to PrP(Sc, our identification of a mutant-selective trafficking pathway to this compartment may provide a cell biological basis for spontaneous generation of PrP(Sc in familial prion disease.

  8. PrPSc-Specific Antibody Reveals C-Terminal Conformational Differences between Prion Strains.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saijo, Eri; Hughson, Andrew G; Raymond, Gregory J; Suzuki, Akio; Horiuchi, Motohiro; Caughey, Byron

    2016-05-15

    Understanding the structure of PrP(Sc) and its strain variation has been one of the major challenges in prion disease biology. To study the strain-dependent conformations of PrP(Sc), we purified proteinase-resistant PrP(Sc) (PrP(RES)) from mouse brains with three different murine-adapted scrapie strains (Chandler, 22L, and Me7) and systematically tested the accessibility of epitopes of a wide range of anti-PrP and anti-PrP(Sc) specific antibodies by indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). We found that epitopes of most anti-PrP antibodies were hidden in the folded structure of PrP(RES), even though these epitopes are revealed with guanidine denaturation. However, reactivities to a PrP(Sc)-specific conformational C-terminal antibody showed significant differences among the three different prion strains. Our results provide evidence for strain-dependent conformational variation near the C termini of molecules within PrP(Sc) multimers. It has long been apparent that prion strains can have different conformations near the N terminus of the PrP(Sc) protease-resistant core. Here, we show that a C-terminal conformational PrP(Sc)-specific antibody reacts differently to three murine-adapted scrapie strains. These results suggest, in turn, that conformational differences in the C terminus of PrP(Sc) also contribute to the phenotypic distinction between prion strains. Copyright © 2016, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

  9. Intraepithelial and interstitial deposition of pathological prion protein in kidneys of scrapie-affected sheep.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  10. Preclinical deposition of pathological prion protein in muscle of experimentally infected primates.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  11. Combined pharmacological induction of Hsp70 suppresses prion protein neurotoxicity in Drosophila.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yan Zhang

    Full Text Available Prion diseases are rare and aggressive neurodegenerative disorders caused by the accumulation of misfolded, toxic conformations of the prion protein (PrP. Therapeutic strategies directed at reducing the levels of PrP offer the best chance of delaying or halting disease progression. The challenge, though, is to define pharmacologic targets that result in reduced PrP levels. We previously reported that expression of wild type hamster PrP in flies induces progressive locomotor dysfunction and accumulation of pathogenic PrP conformations, while co-expression of human Hsp70 delayed these changes. To validate the therapeutic potential of Hsp70, we treated flies with drugs known to induce Hsp70 expression, including the Hsp90 inhibitor 17-DMAG and the glucocorticoid dexamethasone. Although the individual treatment with these compounds produced no significant benefits, their combination significantly increased the level of inducible Hsp70, decreased the level of total PrP, reduced the accumulation of pathogenic PrP conformers, and improved locomotor activity. Thus, the combined action of two pharmacological activators of Hsp70 with distinct targets results in sustained high levels of inducible Hsp70 with improved behavioral output. These findings can have important therapeutic applications for the devastating prion diseases and other related proteinopathies.

  12. 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

  13. Effects of prion protein devoid of the N-terminal residues 25-50 on prion pathogenesis in mice.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Das, Nandita Rani; Miyata, Hironori; Hara, Hideyuki; Uchiyama, Keiji; Chida, Junji; Yano, Masashi; Watanabe, Hitomi; Kondoh, Gen; Sakaguchi, Suehiro

    2017-07-01

    The N-terminal polybasic region of the normal prion protein, PrP C , which encompasses residues 23-31, is important for prion pathogenesis by affecting conversion of PrP C into the pathogenic isoform, PrP Sc . We previously reported transgenic mice expressing PrP with residues 25-50 deleted in the PrP-null background, designated as Tg(PrP∆preOR)/Prnp 0/0 mice. Here, we produced two new lines of Tg(PrP∆preOR)/Prnp 0/0 mice, each expressing the mutant protein, PrP∆preOR, 1.1 and 1.6 times more than PrP C in wild-type mice, and subsequently intracerebrally inoculated RML and 22L prions into them. The lower expresser showed slightly reduced susceptibility to RML prions but not to 22L prions. The higher expresser exhibited enhanced susceptibility to both prions. No prion transmission barrier was created in Tg(PrP∆preOR)/Prnp 0/0 mice against full-length PrP Sc . PrP Sc ∆preOR accumulated in the brains of infected Tg(PrP∆preOR)/Prnp 0/0 mice less than PrP Sc in control wild-type mice, although lower in RML-infected Tg(PrP∆preOR)/Prnp 0/0 mice than in 22L-infected mice. Prion infectivity in infected Tg(PrP∆preOR)/Prnp 0/0 mice was also lower than that in wild-type mice. These results indicate that deletion of residues 25-50 only slightly affects prion susceptibility, the conversion of PrP C into PrP Sc , and prion infectivity in a strain-specific way. PrP∆preOR retains residues 23-24 and lacks residues 25-31 in the polybasic region. It is thus conceivable that residues 23-24 rather than 25-31 are important for the polybasic region to support prion pathogenesis. However, other investigators have reported that residues 27-31 not 23-24 are important to support prion pathogenesis. Taken together, the polybasic region might support prion pathogenesis through multiple sites including residues 23-24 and 27-31.

  14. Aerosols transmit prions to immunocompetent and immunodeficient mice.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  15. 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.

  16. Intraspecies prion transmission results in selection of sheep scrapie strains.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Takashi Yokoyama

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Sheep scrapie is caused by multiple prion strains, which have been classified on the basis of their biological characteristics in inbred mice. The heterogeneity of natural scrapie prions in individual sheep and in sheep flocks has not been clearly defined. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In this study, we intravenously injected 2 sheep (Suffolk and Corriedale with material from a natural case of sheep scrapie (Suffolk breed. These 3 sheep had identical prion protein (PrP genotypes. The protease-resistant core of PrP (PrPres in the experimental Suffolk sheep was similar to that in the original Suffolk sheep. In contrast, PrPres in the Corriedale sheep differed from the original PrPres but resembled the unusual scrapie isolate, CH1641. This unusual PrPres was not detected in the original sheep. The PrPres distributions in the brain and peripheral tissues differed between the 2 breeds of challenged sheep. A transmission study in wild-type and TgBoPrP mice, which overexpressing bovine PrP, led to the selection of different prion strains. The pathological features of prion diseases are thought to depend on the dominantly propagated strain. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our results indicate that prion strain selection occurs after both inter- and intraspecies transmission. The unusual scrapie prion was a hidden or an unexpressed component in typical sheep scrapie.

  17. The physical relationship between infectivity and prion protein aggregates is strain-dependent.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Philippe Tixador

    2010-04-01

    Full Text Available Prions are unconventional infectious agents thought to be primarily composed of PrP(Sc, a multimeric misfolded conformer of the ubiquitously expressed host-encoded prion protein (PrP(C. They cause fatal neurodegenerative diseases in both animals and humans. The disease phenotype is not uniform within species, and stable, self-propagating variations in PrP(Sc conformation could encode this 'strain' diversity. However, much remains to be learned about the physical relationship between the infectious agent and PrP(Sc aggregation state, and how this varies according to the strain. We applied a sedimentation velocity technique to a panel of natural, biologically cloned strains obtained by propagation of classical and atypical sheep scrapie and BSE infectious sources in transgenic mice expressing ovine PrP. Detergent-solubilized, infected brain homogenates were used as starting material. Solubilization conditions were optimized to separate PrP(Sc aggregates from PrP(C. The distribution of PrP(Sc and infectivity in the gradient was determined by immunoblotting and mouse bioassay, respectively. As a general feature, a major proteinase K-resistant PrP(Sc peak was observed in the middle part of the gradient. This population approximately corresponds to multimers of 12-30 PrP molecules, if constituted of PrP only. For two strains, infectivity peaked in a markedly different region of the gradient. This most infectious component sedimented very slowly, suggesting small size oligomers and/or low density PrP(Sc aggregates. Extending this study to hamster prions passaged in hamster PrP transgenic mice revealed that the highly infectious, slowly sedimenting particles could be a feature of strains able to induce a rapidly lethal disease. Our findings suggest that prion infectious particles are subjected to marked strain-dependent variations, which in turn could influence the strain biological phenotype, in particular the replication dynamics.

  18. Relationship between magnetism and prion protein

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  19. Encefalopatía por priones

    OpenAIRE

    Carlos Colegial; Federico Silva; Carlos Pérez; Myriam Saavedra; William Fernández; Rodrigo Pardo; Pablo Lorenzana; Ignacio Vergara

    1999-01-01

    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 chi...

  20. Priones y su destrucción

    OpenAIRE

    Canónico, Mariana; Ricciardi, Pablo; Spada, Vanesa; Urquet, Alejandro

    2017-01-01

    Los priones son partículas no celulares, hebras de proteínas autorreplicables, sin ADN, ni ARN. Son agentes iatrogénicos, infectivos mortales. No son organismos vivos, son solo proteinas sin ácido nucleico. La forma de actuar de un prión es provocar un cambio de configuración en una proteína natural del organismo. Presentan características patógenas e infecciosas. Producen enfermedades en humanos y en animales. Se trasmite por ingesta, cortes en la piel, transplante corneal, instrumentos cont...

  1. Infectious prions in pre-clinical deer and transmission of chronic wasting disease solely by environmental exposure.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Candace K Mathiason

    Full Text Available Key to understanding the epidemiology and pathogenesis of prion diseases, including chronic wasting disease (CWD of cervids, is determining the mode of transmission from one individual to another. We have previously reported that saliva and blood from CWD-infected deer contain sufficient infectious prions to transmit disease upon passage into naïve deer. Here we again use bioassays in deer to show that blood and saliva of pre-symptomatic deer contain infectious prions capable of infecting naïve deer and that naïve deer exposed only to environmental fomites from the suites of CWD-infected deer acquired CWD infection after a period of 15 months post initial exposure. These results help to further explain the basis for the facile transmission of CWD, highlight the complexities associated with CWD transmission among cervids in their natural environment, emphasize the potential utility of blood-based testing to detect pre-clinical CWD infection, and could augur similar transmission dynamics in other prion infections.

  2. 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…

  3. Protease-resistant prions selectively decrease Shadoo protein.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  4. Isolation of a Defective Prion Mutant from Natural Scrapie.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ilaria Vanni

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available It is widely known that prion strains can mutate in response to modification of the replication environment and we have recently reported that prion mutations can occur in vitro during amplification of vole-adapted prions by Protein Misfolding Cyclic Amplification on bank vole substrate (bvPMCA. Here we exploited the high efficiency of prion replication by bvPMCA to study the in vitro propagation of natural scrapie isolates. Although in vitro vole-adapted PrPSc conformers were usually similar to the sheep counterpart, we repeatedly isolated a PrPSc mutant exclusively when starting from extremely diluted seeds of a single sheep isolate. The mutant and faithful PrPSc conformers showed to be efficiently autocatalytic in vitro and were characterized by different PrP protease resistant cores, spanning aa ∼155-231 and ∼80-231 respectively, and by different conformational stabilities. The two conformers could thus be seen as different bona fide PrPSc types, putatively accounting for prion populations with different biological properties. Indeed, once inoculated in bank vole the faithful conformer was competent for in vivo replication while the mutant was unable to infect voles, de facto behaving like a defective prion mutant. Overall, our findings confirm that prions can adapt and evolve in the new replication environments and that the starting population size can affect their evolutionary landscape, at least in vitro. Furthermore, we report the first example of "authentic" defective prion mutant, composed of brain-derived PrPC and originating from a natural scrapie isolate. Our results clearly indicate that the defective mutant lacks of some structural characteristics, that presumably involve the central region ∼90-155, critical for infectivity but not for in vitro replication. Finally, we propose a molecular mechanism able to account for the discordant in vitro and in vivo behavior, suggesting possible new paths for investigating the molecular

  5. The Antemortem Detection and Conformational Switches of Prion Proteins

    Science.gov (United States)

    2006-07-01

    PrPsc to detect individual cells that contain PrPsc . Sensitivity studies suggest that it can detect as low as 10 prion-infected cells in 5 x 105 WBCs...The amyloidogenic PrPSc is the only proven surrogate marker for the diagnosis of prion diseases. Therefore almost all of the efforts for diagnosing...prion diseases are directed at detecting PrPsc . Since the only difference between the normal cellular PrPc and the pathological PrPsc is their

  6. 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

    2012-04-01

    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

  7. Double-Edge Sword of Sustained ROCK Activation in Prion Diseases through Neuritogenesis Defects and Prion Accumulation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alleaume-Butaux, Aurélie; Nicot, Simon; Pietri, Mathéa; Baudry, Anne; Dakowski, Caroline; Tixador, Philippe; Ardila-Osorio, Hector; Haeberlé, Anne-Marie; Bailly, Yannick; Peyrin, Jean-Michel; Launay, Jean-Marie; Kellermann, Odile; Schneider, Benoit

    2015-01-01

    In prion diseases, synapse dysfunction, axon retraction and loss of neuronal polarity precede neuronal death. The mechanisms driving such polarization defects, however, remain unclear. Here, we examined the contribution of RhoA-associated coiled-coil containing kinases (ROCK), key players in neuritogenesis, to prion diseases. We found that overactivation of ROCK signaling occurred in neuronal stem cells infected by pathogenic prions (PrPSc) and impaired the sprouting of neurites. In reconstructed networks of mature neurons, PrPSc-induced ROCK overactivation provoked synapse disconnection and dendrite/axon degeneration. This overactivation of ROCK also disturbed overall neurotransmitter-associated functions. Importantly, we demonstrated that beyond its impact on neuronal polarity ROCK overactivity favored the production of PrPSc through a ROCK-dependent control of 3-phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1 (PDK1) activity. In non-infectious conditions, ROCK and PDK1 associated within a complex and ROCK phosphorylated PDK1, conferring basal activity to PDK1. In prion-infected neurons, exacerbated ROCK activity increased the pool of PDK1 molecules physically interacting with and phosphorylated by ROCK. ROCK-induced PDK1 overstimulation then canceled the neuroprotective α-cleavage of normal cellular prion protein PrPC by TACE α-secretase, which physiologically precludes PrPSc production. In prion-infected cells, inhibition of ROCK rescued neurite sprouting, preserved neuronal architecture, restored neuronal functions and reduced the amount of PrPSc. In mice challenged with prions, inhibition of ROCK also lowered brain PrPSc accumulation, reduced motor impairment and extended survival. We conclude that ROCK overactivation exerts a double detrimental effect in prion diseases by altering neuronal polarity and triggering PrPSc accumulation. Eventually ROCK emerges as therapeutic target to combat prion diseases. PMID:26241960

  8. Double-Edge Sword of Sustained ROCK Activation in Prion Diseases through Neuritogenesis Defects and Prion Accumulation.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aurélie Alleaume-Butaux

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available In prion diseases, synapse dysfunction, axon retraction and loss of neuronal polarity precede neuronal death. The mechanisms driving such polarization defects, however, remain unclear. Here, we examined the contribution of RhoA-associated coiled-coil containing kinases (ROCK, key players in neuritogenesis, to prion diseases. We found that overactivation of ROCK signaling occurred in neuronal stem cells infected by pathogenic prions (PrPSc and impaired the sprouting of neurites. In reconstructed networks of mature neurons, PrPSc-induced ROCK overactivation provoked synapse disconnection and dendrite/axon degeneration. This overactivation of ROCK also disturbed overall neurotransmitter-associated functions. Importantly, we demonstrated that beyond its impact on neuronal polarity ROCK overactivity favored the production of PrPSc through a ROCK-dependent control of 3-phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1 (PDK1 activity. In non-infectious conditions, ROCK and PDK1 associated within a complex and ROCK phosphorylated PDK1, conferring basal activity to PDK1. In prion-infected neurons, exacerbated ROCK activity increased the pool of PDK1 molecules physically interacting with and phosphorylated by ROCK. ROCK-induced PDK1 overstimulation then canceled the neuroprotective α-cleavage of normal cellular prion protein PrPC by TACE α-secretase, which physiologically precludes PrPSc production. In prion-infected cells, inhibition of ROCK rescued neurite sprouting, preserved neuronal architecture, restored neuronal functions and reduced the amount of PrPSc. In mice challenged with prions, inhibition of ROCK also lowered brain PrPSc accumulation, reduced motor impairment and extended survival. We conclude that ROCK overactivation exerts a double detrimental effect in prion diseases by altering neuronal polarity and triggering PrPSc accumulation. Eventually ROCK emerges as therapeutic target to combat prion diseases.

  9. Prion switching in response to environmental stress.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jens Tyedmers

    2008-11-01

    Full Text Available Evolution depends on the manner in which genetic variation is translated into new phenotypes. There has been much debate about whether organisms might have specific mechanisms for "evolvability," which would generate heritable phenotypic variation with adaptive value and could act to enhance the rate of evolution. Capacitor systems, which allow the accumulation of cryptic genetic variation and release it under stressful conditions, might provide such a mechanism. In yeast, the prion [PSI(+] exposes a large array of previously hidden genetic variation, and the phenotypes it thereby produces are advantageous roughly 25% of the time. The notion that [PSI(+] is a mechanism for evolvability would be strengthened if the frequency of its appearance increased with stress. That is, a system that mediates even the haphazard appearance of new phenotypes, which have a reasonable chance of adaptive value would be beneficial if it were deployed at times when the organism is not well adapted to its environment. In an unbiased, high-throughput, genome-wide screen for factors that modify the frequency of [PSI(+] induction, signal transducers and stress response genes were particularly prominent. Furthermore, prion induction increased by as much as 60-fold when cells were exposed to various stressful conditions, such as oxidative stress (H2O2 or high salt concentrations. The severity of stress and the frequency of [PSI(+] induction were highly correlated. These findings support the hypothesis that [PSI(+] is a mechanism to increase survival in fluctuating environments and might function as a capacitor to promote evolvability.

  10. Infectious particles, stress, and induced prion amyloids

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-01-01

    Transmissible encephalopathies (TSEs) are believed by many to arise by spontaneous conversion of host prion protein (PrP) into an infectious amyloid (PrP-res, PrPSc) without nucleic acid. Many TSE agents reside in the environment, with infection controlled by public health measures. These include the disappearance of kuru with the cessation of ritual cannibalism, the dramatic reduction of epidemic bovine encephalopathy (BSE) by removal of contaminated feed, and the lack of endemic scrapie in geographically isolated Australian sheep with susceptible PrP genotypes. While prion protein modeling has engendered an intense focus on common types of protein misfolding and amyloid formation in diverse organisms and diseases, the biological characteristics of infectious TSE agents, and their recognition by the host as foreign entities, raises several fundamental new directions for fruitful investigation such as: (1) unrecognized microbial agents in the environmental metagenome that may cause latent neurodegenerative disease, (2) the evolutionary social and protective functions of different amyloid proteins in diverse organisms from bacteria to mammals, and (3) amyloid formation as a beneficial innate immune response to stress (infectious and non-infectious). This innate process however, once initiated, can become unstoppable in accelerated neuronal aging. PMID:23633671

  11. Human organomics: a fresh approach to understanding human development using single-cell transcriptomics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Camp, J Gray; Treutlein, Barbara

    2017-05-01

    Innovative methods designed to recapitulate human organogenesis from pluripotent stem cells provide a means to explore human developmental biology. New technologies to sequence and analyze single-cell transcriptomes can deconstruct these 'organoids' into constituent parts, and reconstruct lineage trajectories during cell differentiation. In this Spotlight article we summarize the different approaches to performing single-cell transcriptomics on organoids, and discuss the opportunities and challenges of applying these techniques to generate organ-level, mechanistic models of human development and disease. Together, these technologies will move past characterization to the prediction of human developmental and disease-related phenomena. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  12. Oxytocin and social cognition in rhesus macaques: implications for understanding and treating human psychopathology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chang, Steve W C; Platt, Michael L

    2014-09-11

    Converging evidence from humans and non-human animals indicates that the neurohypophysial hormone oxytocin (OT) evolved to serve a specialized function in social behavior in mammals. Although OT-based therapies are currently being evaluated as remedies for social deficits in neuropsychiatric disorders, precisely how OT regulates complex social processes remains largely unknown. Here we describe how a non-human primate model can be used to understand the mechanisms by which OT regulates social cognition and thereby inform its clinical application in humans. We focus primarily on recent advances in our understanding of OT-mediated social cognition in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta), supplemented by discussion of recent work in humans, other primates, and rodents. Together, these studies endorse the hypothesis that OT promotes social exploration both by amplifying social motivation and by attenuating social vigilance. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Oxytocin and Social Behav. © 2013 Published by Elsevier B.V.

  13. 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.

  14. Intracerebral Infusion of Antisense Oligonucleotides Into Prion-infected Mice

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karah Nazor Friberg

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Mice deficient for the cellular prion protein (PrPC do not develop prion disease; accordingly, gene-based strategies to diminish PrPC expression are of interest. We synthesized a series of chemically modified antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs targeted against mouse Prnp messenger RNA (mRNA and identified those that were most effective in decreasing PrPC expression. Those ASOs were also evaluated in scrapie-infected cultured cells (ScN2a for their efficacy in diminishing the levels of the disease-causing prion protein (PrPSc. When the optimal ASO was infused intracerebrally into FVB mice over a 14-day period beginning 1 day after infection with the Rocky Mountain Laboratory (RML strain of mouse prions, a prolongation of the incubation period of almost 2 months was observed. Whether ASOs can be used to develop an effective therapy for patients dying of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease remains to be established.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. Understanding human error and aiding human diagnostic behavior in nuclear power plants

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rasmussen, J.; Rouse, W.B.

    1981-01-01

    This essay deals with the vulnerability of nuclear plant operators to human error. The various ways in which they can err, and how machine errors differ from human errors are discussed. Diagnosis of system failure utilizing computers is offered as a possible solution

  18. Thermodynamics of model prions and its implications for the problem of prion protein folding.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harrison, P M; Chan, H S; Prusiner, S B; Cohen, F E

    1999-02-19

    Prion disease is caused by the propagation of a particle containing PrPSc, a misfolded form of the normal cellular prion protein (PrPC). PrPC can re-fold to form PrPSc with loss of alpha-helical structure and formation of extensive beta-sheet structure. Here, we model this prion folding problem with a simple, low-resolution lattice model of protein folding. If model proteins are allowed to re-fold upon dimerization, a minor proportion of them (up to approximately 17%) encrypts an alternative native state as a homodimer. The structures in this homodimeric native state re-arrange so that they are very different in conformation from the monomeric native state. We find that model proteins that are relatively less stable as monomers are more susceptible to the formation of alternative native states as homodimers. These results suggest that less-stable proteins have a greater need for a well-designed energy landscape for protein folding to overcome an increased chance of encrypting substantially different native conformations stabilized by multimeric interactions. This conceptual framework for aberrant folding should be relevant in Alzheimer's disease and other disorders associated with protein aggregation. Copyright 1999 Academic Press.

  19. The Seeds of Neurodegeneration: Prion-like Spreading in ALS

    OpenAIRE

    Polymenidou, Magdalini; Cleveland, Don W.

    2011-01-01

    Misfolded proteins accumulating in several neurodegenerative diseases (including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases) can cause aggregation of their native counterparts through a mechanism similar to the infectious prion protein’s induction of a pathogenic conformation onto its cellular isoform. Evidence for such a prion-like mechanism has now spread to the main misfolded proteins (SOD1 and TDP-43) implicated in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The major neurodegenerative d...

  20. Sialylation of prion protein controls the rate of prion amplification, the cross-species barrier, the ratio of PrPSc glycoform and prion infectivity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Katorcha, Elizaveta; Makarava, Natallia; Savtchenko, Regina; D'Azzo, Alessandra; Baskakov, Ilia V

    2014-09-01

    The central event underlying prion diseases involves conformational change of the cellular form of the prion protein (PrP(C)) into the disease-associated, transmissible form (PrP(Sc)). Pr(PC) is a sialoglycoprotein that contains two conserved N-glycosylation sites. Among the key parameters that control prion replication identified over the years are amino acid sequence of host PrP(C) and the strain-specific structure of PrPSc. The current work highlights the previously unappreciated role of sialylation of PrP(C) glycans in prion pathogenesis, including its role in controlling prion replication rate, infectivity, cross-species barrier and PrP(Sc) glycoform ratio. The current study demonstrates that undersialylated PrP(C) is selected during prion amplification in Protein Misfolding Cyclic Amplification (PMCAb) at the expense of oversialylated PrP(C). As a result, PMCAb-derived PrP(Sc) was less sialylated than brain-derived PrP(Sc). A decrease in PrPSc sialylation correlated with a drop in infectivity of PMCAb-derived material. Nevertheless, enzymatic de-sialylation of PrP(C) using sialidase was found to increase the rate of PrP(Sc) amplification in PMCAb from 10- to 10,000-fold in a strain-dependent manner. Moreover, de-sialylation of PrP(C) reduced or eliminated a species barrier of for prion amplification in PMCAb. These results suggest that the negative charge of sialic acid controls the energy barrier of homologous and heterologous prion replication. Surprisingly, the sialylation status of PrP(C) was also found to control PrP(Sc) glycoform ratio. A decrease in Pr(PC) sialylation levels resulted in a higher percentage of the diglycosylated glycoform in PrP(Sc). 2D analysis of charge distribution revealed that the sialylation status of brain-derived PrP(C) differed from that of spleen-derived PrP(C). Knocking out lysosomal sialidase Neu1 did not change the sialylation status of brain-derived PrP(C), suggesting that Neu1 is not responsible for desialylation of Pr

  1. Sialylation of prion protein controls the rate of prion amplification, the cross-species barrier, the ratio of PrPSc glycoform and prion infectivity.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elizaveta Katorcha

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available The central event underlying prion diseases involves conformational change of the cellular form of the prion protein (PrP(C into the disease-associated, transmissible form (PrP(Sc. Pr(PC is a sialoglycoprotein that contains two conserved N-glycosylation sites. Among the key parameters that control prion replication identified over the years are amino acid sequence of host PrP(C and the strain-specific structure of PrPSc. The current work highlights the previously unappreciated role of sialylation of PrP(C glycans in prion pathogenesis, including its role in controlling prion replication rate, infectivity, cross-species barrier and PrP(Sc glycoform ratio. The current study demonstrates that undersialylated PrP(C is selected during prion amplification in Protein Misfolding Cyclic Amplification (PMCAb at the expense of oversialylated PrP(C. As a result, PMCAb-derived PrP(Sc was less sialylated than brain-derived PrP(Sc. A decrease in PrPSc sialylation correlated with a drop in infectivity of PMCAb-derived material. Nevertheless, enzymatic de-sialylation of PrP(C using sialidase was found to increase the rate of PrP(Sc amplification in PMCAb from 10- to 10,000-fold in a strain-dependent manner. Moreover, de-sialylation of PrP(C reduced or eliminated a species barrier of for prion amplification in PMCAb. These results suggest that the negative charge of sialic acid controls the energy barrier of homologous and heterologous prion replication. Surprisingly, the sialylation status of PrP(C was also found to control PrP(Sc glycoform ratio. A decrease in Pr(PC sialylation levels resulted in a higher percentage of the diglycosylated glycoform in PrP(Sc. 2D analysis of charge distribution revealed that the sialylation status of brain-derived PrP(C differed from that of spleen-derived PrP(C. Knocking out lysosomal sialidase Neu1 did not change the sialylation status of brain-derived PrP(C, suggesting that Neu1 is not responsible for desialylation of Pr

  2. Prions amplify through degradation of the VPS10P sorting receptor sortilin.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Keiji Uchiyama

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available 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.

  3. Prions amplify through degradation of the VPS10P sorting receptor sortilin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tomita, Mitsuru; Yano, Masashi; Hara, Hideyuki; Nykjaer, Anders

    2017-01-01

    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. PMID:28665987

  4. A Neuronal Culture System to Detect Prion Synaptotoxicity.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  5. Yeast prions form infectious amyloid inclusion bodies in bacteria

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. Prion infection of epithelial Rov cells is a polarized event.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paquet, Sophie; Sabuncu, Elifsu; Delaunay, Jean-Louis; Laude, Hubert; Vilette, Didier

    2004-07-01

    During prion infections, the cellular glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored glycoprotein PrP is converted into a conformational isoform. This abnormal conformer is thought to recruit and convert the normal cellular PrP into a likeness of itself and is proposed to be the infectious agent. We investigated the distribution of the PrP protein on the surface of Rov cells, an epithelial cell line highly permissive to prion multiplication, and we found that PrP is primarily expressed on the apical side. We further show that prion transmission to Rov cells is much more efficient if infectivity contacts the apical side, indicating that the apical and basolateral sides of Rov cells are not equally competent for prion infection and adding prions to the list of the conventional infectious agents (viruses and bacteria) that infect epithelial cells in a polarized manner. These data raise the possibility that apically expressed PrP may be involved in this polarized process of infection. This would add further support for a crucial role of PrP at the cell surface in prion infection of target cells.

  8. 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.

  9. Human & dog in urban environment: Could basic IMS standards help to improve human & dog mutual understanding?

    OpenAIRE

    Andreeva Elena E.

    2016-01-01

    Modern life, particularly urban one, is well regulated. Standards are developed for almost every sphere of human activities including proper treatment of nature and different working processes. IMS standards, particularly ISO 14001 and ISO 9001, are widely spread. In this human made environment we indicated some space and rules for pets, dogs in particular, how to behave, eat, walk, then for us the advices how to become their pack leaders… Also we could apply some widely used requirements and...

  10. 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.

  11. The Exposome Research Paradigm: an Opportunity to Understand the Environmental Basis for Human Health and Disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buck Louis, Germaine M; Smarr, Melissa M; Patel, Chirag J

    2017-03-01

    This paper presents an overview of the exposome research paradigm with particular application to understanding human reproduction and development and its implications for health across a lifespan. The exposome research paradigm has generated considerable discussion about its feasibility and utility for delineating the impact of environmental exposures on human health. Early initiatives are underway, including smaller proof-of-principle studies and larger concerted efforts. Despite the notable challenges underlying the exposome paradigm, analytic techniques are being developed to handle its untargeted approach and correlated and multi-level or hierarchical data structures such initiatives generate, while considering multiple comparisons. The relatively short intervals for critical and sensitive windows of human reproduction and development seem well suited for exposome research and may revolutionize our understanding of later onset diseases. Early initiatives suggest that the exposome paradigm is feasible, but its utility remains to be established with applications to population human health research.

  12. An antipsychotic drug exerts anti-prion effects by altering the localization of the cellular prion protein.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Claudia Stincardini

    Full Text Available Prion diseases are neurodegenerative conditions characterized by the conformational conversion of the cellular prion protein (PrPC, an endogenous membrane glycoprotein of uncertain function, into PrPSc, a pathological isoform that replicates by imposing its abnormal folding onto PrPC molecules. A great deal of evidence supports the notion that PrPC plays at least two roles in prion diseases, by acting as a substrate for PrPSc replication, and as a mediator of its toxicity. This conclusion was recently supported by data suggesting that PrPC may transduce neurotoxic signals elicited by other disease-associated protein aggregates. Thus, PrPC may represent a convenient pharmacological target for prion diseases, and possibly other neurodegenerative conditions. Here, we sought to characterize the activity of chlorpromazine (CPZ, an antipsychotic previously shown to inhibit prion replication by directly binding to PrPC. By employing biochemical and biophysical techniques, we provide direct experimental evidence indicating that CPZ does not bind PrPC at biologically relevant concentrations. Instead, the compound exerts anti-prion effects by inducing the relocalization of PrPC from the plasma membrane. Consistent with these findings, CPZ also inhibits the cytotoxic effects delivered by a PrP mutant. Interestingly, we found that the different pharmacological effects of CPZ could be mimicked by two inhibitors of the GTPase activity of dynamins, a class of proteins involved in the scission of newly formed membrane vesicles, and recently reported as potential pharmacological targets of CPZ. Collectively, our results redefine the mechanism by which CPZ exerts anti-prion effects, and support a primary role for dynamins in the membrane recycling of PrPC, as well as in the propagation of infectious prions.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Glycoform-independent prion conversion by highly efficient, cell-based, protein misfolding cyclic amplification

    OpenAIRE

    Moudjou, Mohammed; Chapuis, J?r?me; Mekrouti, M?riem; Reine, Fabienne; Herzog, Laetitia; Sibille, Pierre; Laude, Hubert; Vilette, Didier; Andr?oletti, Olivier; Rezaei, Human; Dron, Michel; B?ringue, Vincent

    2016-01-01

    Prions are formed of misfolded assemblies (PrPSc) of the variably N-glycosylated cellular prion protein (PrPC). In infected species, prions replicate by seeding the conversion and polymerization of host PrPC. Distinct prion strains can be recognized, exhibiting defined PrPSc biochemical properties such as the glycotype and specific biological traits. While strain information is encoded within the conformation of PrPSc assemblies, the storage of the structural information and the molecular req...

  16. Theoretical Modeling of Molecular Mechanisms, Strains, and Time Scales in Prion Diseases

    Science.gov (United States)

    2005-07-01

    possible geometries for the bound copper- PrPC complex; we find that these geometries are in- compatible with recently proposed models (4,5) for PrPSc...proposed model has the same char- acteristics (10).) Hence, copper in the nonoctarepeat sequence GGGTH can protect against PrPC -to-PrPSc conversion; re...Kuru in humans are all diseases caused by a specific mis- folded protein residing on neurons 1,2. This prion protein denoted PrPc in its normal

  17. 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)

  18. 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)

  19. Communicating Numerical Risk: Human Factors That Aid Understanding in Health Care

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brust-Renck, Priscila G.; Royer, Caisa E.; Reyna, Valerie F.

    2014-01-01

    In this chapter, we review evidence from the human factors literature that verbal and visual formats can help increase the understanding of numerical risk information in health care. These visual representations of risk are grounded in empirically supported theory. As background, we first review research showing that people often have difficulty understanding numerical risks and benefits in health information. In particular, we discuss how understanding the meanings of numbers results in healthier decisions. Then, we discuss the processes that determine how communication of numerical risks can enhance (or degrade) health judgments and decisions. Specifically, we examine two different approaches to risk communication: a traditional approach and fuzzy-trace theory. Applying research on the complications of understanding and communicating risks, we then highlight how different visual representations are best suited to communicating different risk messages (i.e., their gist). In particular, we review verbal and visual messages that highlight gist representations that can better communicate health information and improve informed decision making. This discussion is informed by human factors theories and methods, which involve the study of how to maximize the interaction between humans and the tools they use. Finally, we present implications and recommendations for future research on human factors in health care. PMID:24999307

  20. UNESCO and the Associated Schools Project: Symbolic Affirmation of World Community, International Understanding, and Human Rights

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suarez, David F.; Ramirez, Francisco O.; Koo, Jeong-Woo

    2009-01-01

    The UNESCO Associated Schools Project emphasizes world community, human rights, and international understanding. This article investigates the emergence and global diffusion of the project from 1953 to 2001, estimating the influence of national, regional, and world characteristics on the likelihood of a country adopting a UNESCO school. It also…

  1. Cell-biological aspects of the prion protein in transgenic Xenopus intermediate pituitary cells

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rosmalen, J.W.G. van

    2007-01-01

    In mammals, prions are the causative agents of various neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. scrapie, mad cow and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease) in which the three-dimensional structure of the normal cellular form of the prion protein (PrPC) is misfolded into the infectious scrapie form (PrPSc or prion). In

  2. 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

  3. Mechanical Deformation Mechanisms and Properties of Prion Fibrils Probed by Atomistic Simulations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Choi, Bumjoon; Kim, Taehee; Ahn, Eue Soo; Lee, Sang Woo; Eom, Kilho

    2017-03-01

    Prion fibrils, which are a hallmark for neurodegenerative diseases, have recently been found to exhibit the structural diversity that governs disease pathology. Despite our recent finding concerning the role of the disease-specific structure of prion fibrils in determining their elastic properties, the mechanical deformation mechanisms and fracture properties of prion fibrils depending on their structures have not been fully characterized. In this work, we have studied the tensile deformation mechanisms of prion and non-prion amyloid fibrils by using steered molecular dynamics simulations. Our simulation results show that the elastic modulus of prion fibril, which is formed based on left-handed β-helical structure, is larger than that of non-prion fibril constructed based on right-handed β-helix. However, the mechanical toughness of prion fibril is found to be less than that of non-prion fibril, which indicates that infectious prion fibril is more fragile than non-infectious (non-prion) fibril. Our study sheds light on the role of the helical structure of amyloid fibrils, which is related to prion infectivity, in determining their mechanical deformation mechanisms and properties.

  4. The chemistry of prions: small molecules, protein conformers and mass spectrometry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Background/Introduction. Prions propagate by converting a normal cellular isoform (PrPC) into the prion isoform (PrPSc) in a template-driven process. The lysines in PrPC are highly conserved and strongly influence prion propagation, based on studies using natural polymorphisms of PrPC and transg...

  5. Using Mass Spectrometry to Diagnose Prion diseases: Can we do that?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prions (PrPSc) are infectious proteins. They are able to convert a normal cellular protein (PrPC) into a prion and, thereby, propagate an infection. We have used mass spectrometry to quantitate the prions present in infected hamsters, mice, and sheep. Calibration curves relating the area ratios of t...

  6. 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...

  7. 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)

  8. 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.

  9. The AGAAAAGA palindrome in PrP is required to generate a productive PrPSc-PrPC complex that leads to prion propagation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Norstrom, Eric M; Mastrianni, James A

    2005-07-22

    The molecular hallmark of prion disease is the conversion of normal prion protein (PrPC) to an insoluble, proteinase K-resistant, pathogenic isoform (PrPSc). Once generated, PrPSc propagates by complexing with, and transferring its pathogenic conformation onto, PrPC. Defining the specific nature of this PrPSc-PrPC interaction is critical to understanding prion genesis. To begin to approach this question, we employed a prion-infected neuroblastoma cell line (ScN2a) combined with a heterologous yeast expression system to independently model PrPSc generation and propagation. We additionally applied fluorescence resonance energy transfer analysis to the latter to specifically study PrP-PrP interactions. In this report we focus on an N-terminal hydrophobic palindrome of PrP (112-AGAAAAGA-119) thought to feature intimately in prion generation via an unclear mechanism. We found that, in contrast to wild type (wt) PrP, PrP lacking the palindrome (PrPDelta112-119) neither converted to PrPSc when expressed in ScN2a cells nor generated proteinase K-resistant PrP when expressed in yeast. Furthermore, PrPDelta112-119 was a dominant-negative inhibitor of wtPrP in ScN2a cells. Both wtPrP and PrPDelta112-119 were highly insoluble when expressed in yeast and produced distinct cytosolic aggregates when expressed as fluorescent fusion proteins (PrP::YFP). Although self-aggregation was evident, fluorescence resonance energy transfer studies in live yeast co-expressing PrPSc-like protein and PrPDelta112-119 indicated altered interaction properties. These results suggest that the palindrome is required, not only for the attainment of the PrPSc conformation but also to facilitate the proper association of PrPSc with PrPC to effect prion propagation.

  10. 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

  11. 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... Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The draft rule proposes to declare a prion (i... Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), so a product intended to reduce the infectivity of any prion on inanimate surfaces (i...

  12. 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

  13. Human & dog in urban environment: Could basic IMS standards help to improve human & dog mutual understanding?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andreeva Elena E.

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Modern life, particularly urban one, is well regulated. Standards are developed for almost every sphere of human activities including proper treatment of nature and different working processes. IMS standards, particularly ISO 14001 and ISO 9001, are widely spread. In this human made environment we indicated some space and rules for pets, dogs in particular, how to behave, eat, walk, then for us the advices how to become their pack leaders… Also we could apply some widely used requirements and rules from IMS (Integrated Management Systems standards for dogs' owners, trainers and breeders. But we'd better always keep in mind that dogs are animals, a part of nature. Why not to see our attitude to dogs through these standards we invented to preserve nature and improve working processes? It will help to put aside the anthropocentric position and to look at dogs as a specific world that exists side by side with ours and that we only learn how to respect and communicate with.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. The Role of a Novel Topological Form of the Prion Protein in Prion Disease

    Science.gov (United States)

    2008-07-01

    form of the prion protein ( PrPSc ). However, there is mounting evidence that PrPSc is not directly toxic to neurons; it may require interaction with...Hegde et al. 1999]. This hypothesis suggests that 4 PrPSc itself is not toxic per se, but it causes disease by leading to the aberrant generation of...However, this does not rule out the separate hypothesis that CtmPrP and PrPSc may be separately activating a common neurodegenerative pathway

  18. Exploring Anti-Prion Glyco-Based and Aromatic Scaffolds: A Chemical Strategy for the Quality of Life.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blázquez-Sánchez, María Teresa; de Matos, Ana M; Rauter, Amélia P

    2017-05-24

    Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative disorders caused by protein misfolding and aggregation, affecting the brain progressively and consequently the quality of life. Alzheimer's is also a protein misfolding disease, causing dementia in over 40 million people worldwide. There are no therapeutics able to cure these diseases. Cellular prion protein is a high-affinity binding partner of amyloid β (Aβ) oligomers, the most toxic species in Alzheimer's pathology. These findings motivate the development of new chemicals for a better understanding of the events involved. Disease control is far from being reached by the presently known therapeutics. In this review we describe the synthesis and mode of action of molecular entities with intervention in prion diseases' biological processes and, if known, their role in Alzheimer's. A diversity of structures is covered, based on glycans, steroids and terpenes, heterocycles, polyphenols, most of them embodying aromatics and a structural complexity. These molecules may be regarded as chemical tools to foster the understanding of the complex mechanisms involved, and to encourage the scientific community towards further developments for the cure of these devastating diseases.

  19. Are animal models useful or confusing in understanding the human feto-maternal relationship? A debate.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chaouat, Gérard; Clark, David A

    2015-04-01

    The proposition "This house agrees that the proper study of man is woman" was debated. For those negating the proposition, the alternative was that "animal models are useful in understanding the human feto-maternal relationship." Evidence for the proposition emphasized molecular and structural differences between the human and animal placenta and placentation. Evidence against the proposition and in favor of the alternative focused on functional and structural homologies, emphasizing that different molecules could be used in humans to achieve similar functional effects seen in animal (e.g., mouse) models. It was agreed that one always needed to test the validity of animal data by studying humans. The advantages and limitations of animal models were discussed. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. 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.

  1. What's the point? Golden and Labrador retrievers living in kennels do not understand human pointing gestures.

    Science.gov (United States)

    D'Aniello, Biagio; Alterisio, Alessandra; Scandurra, Anna; Petremolo, Emanuele; Iommelli, Maria Rosaria; Aria, Massimo

    2017-07-01

    In many studies that have investigated whether dogs' capacities to understand human pointing gestures are aspects of evolutionary or developmental social competences, family-owned dogs have been compared to shelter dogs. However, for most of these studies, the origins of shelter dogs were unknown. Some shelter dogs may have lived with families before entering shelters, and from these past experiences, they may have learned to understand human gestures. Furthermore, there is substantial variation in the methodology and analytic approaches used in such studies (e.g. different pointing protocols, different treatment of trials with no-choice response and indoor vs. outdoor experimental arenas). Such differences in methodologies and analysis techniques used make it difficult to compare results obtained from different studies and may account for the divergent results obtained. We thus attempted to control for several parameters by carrying out a test on dynamic proximal and distal pointing. We studied eleven kennel dogs of known origin that were born and raised in a kennels with limited human interaction. This group was compared to a group of eleven dogs comparable in terms of breed, sex and age that had lived with human families since they were puppies. Our results demonstrate that pet dogs outperform kennel dogs in their comprehension of proximal and distal pointing, regardless of whether trials where no-choice was made were considered as errors or were excluded from statistical analysis, meaning that dogs living in kennels do not understand pointing gestures. Even if genetic effects of the domestication process on human-dog relationships cannot be considered as negligible, our data suggest that dogs need to learn human pointing gestures and thus underscore the importance of ontogenetic processes.

  2. 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.

  3. Insights from the Den: How Hibernating Bears May Help Us Understand and Treat Human Disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berg von Linde, Maria; Arevström, Lilith; Fröbert, Ole

    2015-10-01

    Hibernating brown bears (Ursus arctos) and black bears (Ursus americanus) spend half of the year in a physically inactive state inside their winter dens without food intake and defecating and no or little urination. Under similar extreme conditions, humans would suffer from loss of lean body mass, heart failure, thrombosis, azotemia, osteoporosis, and more. However, bears exit the den in the spring strong without organ injuries. Translational animal models are used in human medicine but traditional experimental animals have several shortcomings; thus, we believe that it is time to systematically explore new models. In this review paper, we describe physiological adaptations of hibernating bears and how similar adaptations in humans could theoretically alleviate medical conditions. The bear has solved most of the health challenges faced by humans, including heart and kidney disease, atherosclerosis and thrombosis, and muscle wasting and osteoporosis. Understanding and applying this library of information could lead to a number of major discoveries that could have implications for the understanding and treatment of human disease. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  4. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of human microtia via a pig model of HOXA1 syndrome

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ruimin Qiao

    2015-06-01

    Full Text Available Microtia is a congenital malformation of the outer ears. Although both genetic and environmental components have been implicated in microtia, the genetic causes of this innate disorder are poorly understood. Pigs have naturally occurring diseases comparable to those in humans, providing exceptional opportunity to dissect the molecular mechanism of human inherited diseases. Here we first demonstrated that a truncating mutation in HOXA1 causes a monogenic disorder of microtia in pigs. We further performed RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq analysis on affected and healthy pig embryos (day 14.25. We identified a list of 337 differentially expressed genes (DEGs between the normal and mutant samples, shedding light on the transcriptional network involving HOXA1. The DEGs are enriched in biological processes related to cardiovascular system and embryonic development, and neurological, renal and urological diseases. Aberrant expressions of many DEGs have been implicated in human innate deformities corresponding to microtia-associated syndromes. After applying three prioritizing algorithms, we highlighted appealing candidate genes for human microtia from the 337 DEGs. We searched for coding variants of functional significance within six candidate genes in 147 microtia-affected individuals. Of note, we identified one EVC2 non-synonymous mutation (p.Asp1174Asn as a potential disease-implicating variant for a human microtia-associated syndrome. The findings advance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying human microtia, and provide an interesting example of the characterization of human disease-predisposing variants using pig models.

  5. 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.

  6. Impact of leucocyte depletion and prion reduction filters on TSE blood borne transmission.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Caroline Lacroux

    Full Text Available The identification in the UK of 4 v-CJD infected patients thought to be due to the use of transfused Red Blood Cell units prepared from blood of donors incubating v-CJD raised major concerns in transfusion medicine. The demonstration of leucocyte associated infectivity using various animal models of TSE infection led to the implementation of systematic leuco-depletion (LD of Red Blood cells concentrates (RBCs in a number of countries. In the same models, plasma also demonstrated a significant level of infectivity which raised questions on the impact of LD on the v-CJD transmission risk. The recent development of filters combining LD and the capture of non-leucocyte associated prion infectivity meant a comparison of the benefits of LD alone versus LD/prion-reduction filters (LD/PR on blood-borne TSE transmission could be made. Due to the similarity of blood/plasma volumes to human transfusion medicine an experimental TSE sheep model was used to characterize the abilities of whole blood, RBCs, plasma and buffy-coat to transmit the disease through the transfusion route. The impact of a standard RBCs LD filter and of two different RBCs LD/PR prototype filters on the disease transmission was then measured. Homologous recipients transfused with whole-blood, buffy-coat and RBCs developed the disease with 100% efficiency. Conversely, plasma, when intravenously administered resulted in an inconstant infection of the recipients and no disease transmission was observed in sheep that received cryo-precipitated fraction or supernatant obtained from infectious plasma. Despite their high efficacy, LD and LD/PR filtration of the Red Blood Cells concentrate did not provide absolute protection from infection. These results support the view that leuco-depletion strongly mitigates the v-CJD blood borne transmission risk and provide information about the relative benefits of prion reduction filters.

  7. Impact of leucocyte depletion and prion reduction filters on TSE blood borne transmission.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lacroux, Caroline; Bougard, Daisy; Litaise, Claire; Simmons, Hugh; Corbiere, Fabien; Dernis, Dominique; Tardivel, René; Morel, Nathalie; Simon, Stephanie; Lugan, Séverine; Costes, Pierrette; Weisbecker, Jean Louis; Schelcher, François; Grassi, Jacques; Coste, Joliette; Andréoletti, Olivier

    2012-01-01

    The identification in the UK of 4 v-CJD infected patients thought to be due to the use of transfused Red Blood Cell units prepared from blood of donors incubating v-CJD raised major concerns in transfusion medicine. The demonstration of leucocyte associated infectivity using various animal models of TSE infection led to the implementation of systematic leuco-depletion (LD) of Red Blood cells concentrates (RBCs) in a number of countries. In the same models, plasma also demonstrated a significant level of infectivity which raised questions on the impact of LD on the v-CJD transmission risk. The recent development of filters combining LD and the capture of non-leucocyte associated prion infectivity meant a comparison of the benefits of LD alone versus LD/prion-reduction filters (LD/PR) on blood-borne TSE transmission could be made. Due to the similarity of blood/plasma volumes to human transfusion medicine an experimental TSE sheep model was used to characterize the abilities of whole blood, RBCs, plasma and buffy-coat to transmit the disease through the transfusion route. The impact of a standard RBCs LD filter and of two different RBCs LD/PR prototype filters on the disease transmission was then measured. Homologous recipients transfused with whole-blood, buffy-coat and RBCs developed the disease with 100% efficiency. Conversely, plasma, when intravenously administered resulted in an inconstant infection of the recipients and no disease transmission was observed in sheep that received cryo-precipitated fraction or supernatant obtained from infectious plasma. Despite their high efficacy, LD and LD/PR filtration of the Red Blood Cells concentrate did not provide absolute protection from infection. These results support the view that leuco-depletion strongly mitigates the v-CJD blood borne transmission risk and provide information about the relative benefits of prion reduction filters.

  8. PrPSc spreading patterns in the brain of sheep linked to different prion types.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wemheuer, Wiebke M; Benestad, Sylvie L; Wrede, Arne; Wemheuer, Wilhelm E; Brenig, Bertram; Bratberg, Bjørn; Schulz-Schaeffer, Walter J

    2011-02-15

    Scrapie in sheep and goats has been known for more than 250 years and belongs nowadays to the so-called prion diseases that also include e.g. bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cattle (BSE) and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. According to the prion hypothesis, the pathological isoform (PrPSc) of the cellular prion protein (PrPc) comprises the essential, if not exclusive, component of the transmissible agent. Currently, two types of scrapie disease are known--classical and atypical/Nor98 scrapie. In the present study we examine 24 cases of classical and 25 cases of atypical/Nor98 scrapie with the sensitive PET blot method and validate the results with conventional immunohistochemistry. The sequential detection of PrPSc aggregates in the CNS of classical scrapie sheep implies that after neuroinvasion a spread from spinal cord and obex to the cerebellum, diencephalon and frontal cortex via the rostral brainstem takes place. We categorize the spread of PrPSc into four stages: the CNS entry stage, the brainstem stage, the cruciate sulcus stage and finally the basal ganglia stage. Such a sequential development of PrPSc was not detectable upon analysis of the present atypical/Nor98 scrapie cases. PrPSc distribution in one case of atypical/Nor98 scrapie in a presumably early disease phase suggests that the spread of PrPSc aggregates starts in the di- or telencephalon. In addition to the spontaneous generation of PrPSc, an uptake of the infectious agent into the brain, that bypasses the brainstem and starts its accumulation in the thalamus, needs to be taken into consideration for atypical/Nor98 scrapie.

  9. The role of strategic groups in understanding strategic human resource management

    OpenAIRE

    Gannon, Judie; Doherty, Liz; Roper, Angela

    2012-01-01

    Purpose – This article explores how understanding the challenges faced by companies’ attempts to create competitive advantage through their human resources and HRM practices can be enhanced by insights into the concept of strategic groups within industries. Based within the international hotel industry this study identifies how strategic groups emerge in the analysis of HRM practices and approaches. It sheds light on the value of strategic groups as a way of readdressing the focus on firm and...

  10. Understanding the Link between Urban Activity Destinations and Human Travel Pattern

    OpenAIRE

    Jiang, Shan; Gonzalez, Marta C.; Ferreira, Joseph, Jr.

    2011-01-01

    In the urban transportation field, planners and engineers have explored the relationship between urban destinations and travel behavior for more than half a century. However, we still have only a preliminary understanding about how the spatial arrangement of different types of urban activity destinations influence human travel, and how urban development policies influence travel patterns. Recent developments in urban sensing and cell phone technologies have enabled spatially-detailed and mass...

  11. Personal assistance for disabled people and the understanding of human being

    OpenAIRE

    Mladenov, Teodor

    2012-01-01

    This paper explores personal assistance - a practice considered crucial for supporting the independence and social inclusion of disabled people. The starting point of the analysis is the presumption that the significance of personal assistance goes well beyond welfare, touching upon existential-ontological issues. In order to uncover these issues, a phenomenological approach is used. The aim is to highlight the understanding of human being which is mediated by an internationally prominent mod...

  12. 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.

  13. [What are the prospects for pharmacological treatment of prion disease?].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adjou, K T; Seman, M

    2002-01-01

    There is currently no effective therapy available for Creutz-feldt-Jakob disease. However, a limited number of drugs such as polyanions, the amyloid-binding dye Congo red, amphotericin B anthracyclines, dapsone, beta sheet breaker peptides, porphyrines and phtalocyanines have been found to delay the appearance of the clinical signs in experimental prion diseases. Today, the most promising agent would appear to be a less toxic derivative of amphotericin B, MS-8209. Indeed this compound has a wide spectrum of anti-prion activity and is the only molecule capable of prolonging survival time when treatment is performed in the late stages of infection. This result represents an important step forward in therapeutical approaches of prion diseases and justifies the development of new polyene antibiotic derivatives.

  14. ‘Unwilling’ versus ‘unable’: Tonkean macaques’ understanding of human goal-directed actions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Charlotte Canteloup

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available The present study investigated the understanding of goal-directed actions in Tonkean macaques (Macaca tonkeana using the unwilling versus unable paradigm, previously used in several species. Subjects were tested in three experimental conditions that varied according to the goal-directed actions of a human actor. In the “unwilling” condition, the actor was capable of giving the subject food but unwilling to do it; in the “unable” condition, she was willing to give food but was unable to do it because of a physical barrier; and in the “distracted” condition, she was occupied by manipulating a pebble instead of food. We report for the first time that Tonkean macaques, like capuchins, chimpanzees and human infants, behaved differently across these experimental conditions. They attempted to grasp food in the actor’s hand significantly more and displayed more threats in the presence of an unwilling actor rather than an unable or a distracted one. Inversely, they begged significantly more and displayed more frustration behaviors facing a distracted and unable experimenter rather than an unwilling one. These results suggest that Tonkean macaques understand human goal-directed actions by predicting whether they were likely to obtain food merely based on movements, cue and motor intentions reading and understanding of physical constraints.

  15. From evolution to revolution: understanding mutability in large and disruptive human groups

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whitaker, Roger M.; Felmlee, Diane; Verma, Dinesh C.; Preece, Alun; Williams, Grace-Rose

    2017-05-01

    Over the last 70 years there has been a major shift in the threats to global peace. While the 1950's and 1960's were characterised by the cold war and the arms race, many security threats are now characterised by group behaviours that are disruptive, subversive or extreme. In many cases such groups are loosely and chaotically organised, but their ideals are sociologically and psychologically embedded in group members to the extent that the group represents a major threat. As a result, insights into how human groups form, emerge and change are critical, but surprisingly limited insights into the mutability of human groups exist. In this paper we argue that important clues to understand the mutability of groups come from examining the evolutionary origins of human behaviour. In particular, groups have been instrumental in human evolution, used as a basis to derive survival advantage, leaving all humans with a basic disposition to navigate the world through social networking and managing their presence in a group. From this analysis we present five critical features of social groups that govern mutability, relating to social norms, individual standing, status rivalry, ingroup bias and cooperation. We argue that understanding how these five dimensions interact and evolve can provide new insights into group mutation and evolution. Importantly, these features lend themselves to digital modeling. Therefore computational simulation can support generative exploration of groups and the discovery of latent factors, relevant to both internal group and external group modelling. Finally we consider the role of online social media in relation to understanding the mutability of groups. This can play an active role in supporting collective behaviour, and analysis of social media in the context of the five dimensions of group mutability provides a fresh basis to interpret the forces affecting groups.

  16. 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