Trapping prion protein in the endoplasmic reticulum impairs PrPC maturation and prevents PrPSc accumulation.

Department of Neuroscience, University of Tor Vergata, Via Montpellier 1, 00133 Roma, Italy.
Journal of Biological Chemistry (Impact Factor: 4.65). 01/2005; 280(1):685-94. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M407360200
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The conversion of the normal cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) into the abnormal scrapie isoform (PrP(Sc)) is a key feature of prion diseases. The pathogenic mechanisms and the subcellular sites of the conversion are complex and not completely understood. In particular, little is known on the role of the early compartment of the secretory pathway in the processing of PrP(C) and in the pathogenesis of prion diseases. In order to interfere with the intracellular traffic of endogenous PrP(C) we have generated two anti-prion single chain antibody fragments (scFv) directed against different epitopes, each fragment tagged either with a secretory leader or with the ER retention signal KDEL. The stable expression of these constructs in PC12 cells allowed us to study their specific effects on the synthesis, maturation, and processing of endogenous PrP(C) and on PrP(Sc) formation. We found that ER-targeted anti-prion scFvs retain PrP(C) in the ER and inhibit its translocation to the cell surface. Retention in the ER strongly affects the maturation and glycosylation state of PrP(C), with the appearance of a new aberrant endo-H sensitive glycosylated species. Interestingly, ER-trapped PrP(C) acquires detergent insolubility and proteinase K resistance. Furthermore, we show that ER-targeted anti-prion antibodies prevent PrP(Sc) accumulation in nerve growth factor-differentiated PC12 cells, providing a new tool to study the molecular pathology of prion diseases.

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    ABSTRACT: Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), or prion diseases, represent a unique form of infectious disease based on misfolding of a self-protein (PrP(C)) into a pathological, infectious conformation (PrP(Sc)). Prion diseases of food animals gained notoriety during the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) outbreak of the 1980s. In particular, disease transmission to humans, to the generation of a fatal, untreatable disease, elevated the perspective on livestock prion diseases from food production to food safety. While the immediate threat posed by BSE has been successfully addressed through surveillance and improved management practices, another prion disease is rapidly spreading. Chronic wasting disease (CWD), a prion disease of cervids, has been confirmed in wild and captive populations with devastating impact on the farmed cervid industries. Furthermore, the unabated spread of this disease through wild populations threatens a natural resource that is a source of considerable economic benefit and national pride. In a worst-case scenario, CWD may represent a zoonotic threat either through direct transmission via consumption of infected cervids or through a secondary food animal, such as cattle. This has energized efforts to understand prion diseases as well as to develop tools for disease detection, prevention, and management. Progress in each of these areas is discussed.
    ISRN veterinary science. 01/2012; 2012:254739.
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    ABSTRACT: Prion diseases or transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) are a group of neurodegenerative and infectious disorders characterized by the conversion of a normal cellular protein PrP(C) into a pathological abnormally folded form, termed PrP(Sc). There are neither available therapies nor diagnostic tools for an early identification of individuals affected by these diseases. New gene-based antibody strategies are emerging as valuable therapeutic tools. Among these, intrabodies are chimeric molecules composed by recombinant antibody fragments fused to intracellular trafficking sequences, aimed at inhibiting, in vivo, the function of specific therapeutic targets. The advantage of intrabodies is that they can be selected against a precise epitope of target proteins, including protein-protein interaction sites and cytotoxic conformers (i.e., oligomeric and fibrillar assemblies). Herein, we address and discuss in vitro and in vivo applications of intrabodies in prion diseases, focussing on their therapeutic potential.
    International Journal of Cell Biology 01/2013; 2013:710406.
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    ABSTRACT: Accumulation of misfolded proteins has been implicated in a variety of neurodegenerative diseases including prion diseases, Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), and Huntington's disease (HD). In the past decade, single-chain fragment variable (scFv) -based immunotherapies have been developed to target abnormal proteins or various forms of protein aggregates including Aβ, SNCA, Htt, and PrP proteins. The scFvs are produced by fusing the variable regions of the antibody heavy and light chains, creating a much smaller protein with unaltered specificity. Because of its small size and relative ease of production, scFvs are promising diagnostic and therapeutic reagents for protein misfolded diseases. Studies have demonstrated the efficacy and safety of scFvs in preventing amyloid protein aggregation in preclinical models. Herein, we discuss recent developments of these immunotherapeutics. We review efforts of our group and others using scFv in neurodegenerative disease models. We illustrate the advantages of scFvs, including engineering to enhance misfolded conformer specificity and subcellular targeting to optimize therapeutic action.
    International Journal of Molecular Sciences 01/2013; 14(9):19109-27. · 2.46 Impact Factor


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Apr 8, 2013