[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Familial Alzheimer's disease (AD) is an autosomal dominant disorder characterized by memory impairment and multiple cognitive deficits which occurs in mid to late life. Early onset AD has been associated with mutations in three genes, of which presenilin 1 (PS1) mutations are the most frequent. We sequenced the open reading frame from genomic DNA of a series of 21 early onset AD (AD3) UK families in which there were at least two affected individuals in two or more generations with a diagnosis of probable or definite AD. We found PS1 mutations in six of these families with no sequence variation in the remaining 15. The six families contained between them five different mutations of which two, I143F and P436S, have not been found elsewhere. I143F shows incomplete penetration within the affected family. P436S is the most carboxy-terminal presenilin 1 mutation reported to date.
Human Mutation 02/1999; 13(3):256. · 5.21 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have used circular dichroism to study synthetic peptides from two important regions of the prion protein: the N-terminal octa-repeat domain and a highly conserved hydrophobic section. Our results show that the octa-repeat sequence in free solution can adopt a non-random, extended conformation with properties similar to the poly-L-proline type II left-handed helix. We also show that the conformation can be changed by temperature, organic solvents (e.g. acetonitrile) and on binding to phospholipid vesicles. We compared CD data from two peptides corresponding to the hydrophobic region between residues 106 and 136 which contained either methionine or valine at position 129. This variation represents a common polymorphism in humans which has been shown to influence predisposition towards iatrogenic and sporadic CJD. There was no detectable difference between the CD spectra of these peptides irrespective of the solvent conditions we used.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a transmissible neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the accumulation of aggregates of a cellular protein, PrP, in the brain. In both human and animals, genetic alterations to the gene encoding PrP (PRNP in human) modulate susceptibility to CJD. The recent epidemic of bovine spongi-form encephalopathy in the UK has raised the possibility of transmission from animal produce to humans. To provide a baseline against which to assess possible risk factors, we have determined the frequencies of predisposing mutations and allelic variants in PRNP and their relative contributions to disease. Systematic PRNP genotype analysis was performed on suspected CJD cases referred to the National Surveillance Unit in the UK over the period 1990-1993. Inspection of 120 candidate cases revealed 67 patients with definite and probable CJD, based on clinical and neuropathological criteria. No PRNP mutations were detected in any of the remaining 53 patients assessed as "non-CJD". A disease-associated mutation in the PRNP gene was identified in nine (13.4%) definite and probable cases of CJD, a reliable estimate of the incidence of PRNP-related inherited CJD based on a prospective epidemiological series. Within the group of sporadic CJD patients (lacking PRNP mutations), we confirmed that the genotype distribution with respect to the common methionine/valine (Met/Val) polymorphism at codon 129 within PRNP was significantly different from the normal Caucasian population. The incidence of Met homozygosity at this site was more than doubled and correlated with increased susceptibility to the development of sporadic CJD. Unlike other recent studies, Val homozygosity was also confirmed to be a significant risk factor in sporadic CJD, with the relative risks for the three genotypes Met/Met: Val/Val:Met/Val being 11:4:1.
Human Genetics 10/1996; 98(3):259-64. · 4.63 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There are coding mutations in the prion protein gene in familial Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker disease, and other phenotypes that make up the inherited prion diseases. Insertional mutations consisting of two, five, six, seven, eight, and nine additional octapeptide repeat elements are seen in the inherited prion diseases and usually present as atypical dementias with considerable intrafamilial phenotypic variability. A four-octarepeat insertion was reported previously in an individual without neurodegenerative disease who died of hepatic cirrhosis. Here we report a novel four-octarepeat insertional mutation in a case with classical clinical, electroencephalographic and histopathologic features of CJD with the unusual finding of pronounced prion protein immunoreactivity of the molecular layer of the cerebellum.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prion diseases are transmissible neurodegenerative conditions of humans and animals. Prions consist principally of a post-translationally modified form of prion protein (PrP), PrP(Sc), which is partly protease resistant. Transmission of prion diseases between species is limited by a 'species barrier' determined in part by the degree of sequence homology between host PrP and inoculated PrP(Sc) (ref.3) and by prion strain type. The epidemic of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the United Kingdom and other countries has led to concerns that transmission to humans may occur by dietary exposure. BSE appears to be caused by a single strain, distinct from those of natural or experimental scrapie, which is also seen in the new prion diseases of cats and ruminants that have presumably arisen from dietary BSE exposure. Here we show that transgenic mice expressing human PrP in addition to mouse PrP can generate human PrP(Sc) and 'human' prions. These mice therefore provide a model to study experimentally the species barrier limiting BSE transmission to humans. Incubation periods to BSE in transgenic mice are not shortened by expression of human PrP, and only mouse PrP(Sc) is produced in response to such challenge.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The prion protein (PrP) is central to the aetiology of the prion diseases, transmissible neurodegenerative conditions of humans and animals. PrP null mice show abnormalities of synaptic neurophysiology, in particular weakened GABAA receptor-mediated fast inhibition and impaired long-term potentiation in the hippocampus. Here we demonstrate that this PrP null phenotype is rescued in mice with a high copy number of a transgene encoding human PrP but not in low copy number mice, confirming the specificity of the phenotype for loss of function of PrP. The ability of human PrP to compensate for loss of murine PrP will allow direct study of the functional consequences of the 18 human PrP mutations, which cause the inherited prion diseases; this phenotype can now form the basis of the first functional assay for PrP.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The prion diseases are neurodegenerative conditions, transmissible by inoculation, and in some cases inherited as an autosomal dominant disorder. They include Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans and scrapie and bovine spongiform encephalopathy in animals. The prion consists principally of a post-translationally modified form of a host-encoded glycoprotein (PrPC), designated PrPSc (ref. 1); the normal cellular function of PrPC is, however, unknown. Although PrP is highly conserved among mammals and widely expressed in early embryogenesis, mice homozygous for disrupted PrP genes appear developmentally and behaviourally normal. PrP is a protein anchored to the neuronal surface by glycosylphosphatidylinositol, suggesting a role in cell signalling or adhesion. Here we report that hippocampal slices from PrP null mice have weakened GABAA (gamma-aminobutyric acid type A) receptor-mediated fast inhibition and impaired long-term potentiation. This impaired synaptic inhibition may be involved in the epileptiform activity seen in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and we argue that loss of function of PrPC may contribute to the early synaptic loss and neuronal degeneration seen in these diseases.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human prion diseases occur in inherited, sporadic and acquired forms. The inherited forms are associated with coding mutations in the prion protein gene and the identification of one of these pathogenic mutations allows definitive diagnosis and has resulted in a widening of the previously recognized phenotypic spectrum of these diseases. Study of acquired prion disease provides evidence for genetic susceptibility to development of disease following treatment with contaminated pituitary hormones. Sporadic prion disease occurs predominantly in individuals homozygous with respect to a common PrP polymorphism at residue 129. The identification of pathogenic PrP alleles and the role of the codon 129 PrP gene polymorphism in determining susceptibility to prion disease provides strong support for the idea that an abnormal isoform of PrP, PrPSc, is the principal constituent of the prion and that its propagation involves direct PrP-PrP interactions which occur most readily between identical PrP molecules.
Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences 04/1994; 343(1306):371-8. · 6.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The human prion diseases (spongiform encephalopathies) Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and Gerstmann-Sträussler syndrome (GSS), are neurodegenerative disorders characterised by the accumulation of an abnormal isoform of the prion protein. The normal prion protein is a phosphatidyl inositol anchored, membrane bound sialoglycoprotein of widespread tissue distribution but expressed predominantly in the brain. 15% of prion diseases are autosomal dominant genetic disorders associated with mutations in the gene encoding the prion protein. To date six pathogenic amino acid substitutions have been identified in affected family members, in addition to five distinct insertional events which occur within a region of the protein comprising four tandem octapeptide repeats. We have investigated deletions within this region and have identified three specific deletions. We report here that these deletions are not associated with CJD and represent a new class of polymorphism within the prion protein gene.
Human Molecular Genetics 06/1993; 2(5):541-4. · 7.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dementias with non-specific pathological changes are a relatively common but under diagnosed form of presenile dementia. A high proportion of reported cases are familial. We report on molecular genetic findings in the largest known pedigree with this syndrome. We have excluded the mutations known to cause familial prion disease, APP-linked familial Alzheimer's disease and candidate regions for Huntington's disease, other forms of Alzheimer's disease and motor neuron disease. We have demonstrated that familial non-specific dementia is a novel genetic dementia.
Journal of the Neurological Sciences 03/1993; · 2.24 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To identify cases of inherited prion diseases in Britain and to assess their phenotypic features.
Screening study of patients suspected clinically to have Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and other neurodegenerative diseases by prion protein gene analysis.
Biochemical research department.
Patients suspected to have Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Two patients with symptoms characteristic of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease were found to have inherited prion protein disease (PrP lysine 200), with a mutation at codon 200 of the prion protein gene. Both were homozygous at codon 129 of the gene. One patient was a man aged 58 of British descent while the other was of Libyan Jewish origin.
Two foci of inherited prion disease are known, among Libyan Jews and in Slovakia. A separate British focus of the disease may also exist. Heterozygosity at codon 129 may lead to reduced penetrance of the mutation.
BMJ Clinical Research 02/1993; 306(6873):301-2. · 14.09 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inherited forms of prion diseases are associated with mutations in the prion protein gene. A common polymorphism at codon 129 is also implicated in the predisposition of individuals to sporadic or iatrogenic forms of the disease. This update lists all the currently published mutations and polymorphisms together with their clinical phenotypes, and discusses the significance of the codon 129 genotype in inherited, sporadic, and iatrogenic cases. There are two categories of mutation. Insertions of additional numbers of an octapeptide lying within an octapeptide repeat region now account for six variations and there are also six point mutations. The identification of mutations in this gene has lead to a broadening of the spectrum of clinical phenotypes that can be classified as prion diseases and have provided an important tool in the diagnosis of familial dementias.
Human Mutation 02/1993; 2(3):168-73. · 5.21 Impact Factor