[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), and prion diseases are characterised by the accumulation of abnormal conformers of a host encoded protein in the central nervous system. The process leading to neurodegeneration is still poorly defined and thus development of early intervention strategies is challenging. Unique amongst these diseases are Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases, which have the ability to transmit between individuals. The infectious nature of these diseases has permitted in vivo and in vitro modelling of the time course of the disease process in a highly reproducible manner, thus early events can be defined. Recent evidence has demonstrated that the cell-to-cell spread of protein aggregates by a "prion-like mechanism" is common among the protein misfolding diseases. Thus, the TSE models may provide insights into disease mechanisms and testable hypotheses for disease intervention, applicable to a number of these chronic neurodegenerative diseases.
Preview · Article · Jan 2016 · International Journal of Molecular Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Importance:
Inflammation has been proposed as a major component of neurodegenerative diseases. We have examined the role of key contributors to this inflammatory process, microglia, the major resident immune cell population of the brain, in a murine prion disease model of chronic neurodegeneration. Our study demonstrates that genes up-regulated throughout the disease process, are expressed predominately by microglia. A disease specific highly pro-inflammatory signature was observed in addition to an up-regulation of genes associated with metabolism and respiratory stress. This study strongly supports the growing recognition of the important contribution of microglia to a chronic neurodegenerative disease process.
Preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Journal of Virology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND
Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy affecting humans, acquired initially through infection with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). A small number of vCJD cases have been acquired through the transfusion of blood from asymptomatic donors who subsequently developed vCJD. Filter devices that selectively bind the infectious agent associated with prion disease have been developed for removal of infection from blood. This study independently assessed one such filter, the P-CAPT filter, for efficacy in removing infectivity associated with the BSE agent in sheep blood. The sheep BSE model has previously been used to evaluate the distribution of infectivity in clinically relevant blood components. This is the first study to assess the ability of the P-CAPT filter to remove endogenous infectivity associated with blood components prepared from a large animal model.STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS
Paired units of leukoreduced red blood cells (LR-RBCs) were prepared from donors at the clinical stage of infection and confirmed as having BSE. One cohort of recipients was transfused with LR-RBCs alone, whereas a parallel cohort received LR and P-CAPT–filtered RBCs (LR-RBCs-P-CAPT).RESULTSOf 14 recipients, two have been confirmed as having BSE. These sheep had received LR-RBCs and LR-RBCs-P-CAPT from the same donor.CONCLUSIONS
The results indicate that, after leukoreduction and P-CAPT filtration, there can still be sufficient residual infectivity in sheep RBCs to transmit infection when transfused into a susceptible recipient.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Unlabelled:
The risk of transmission of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) between different species has been notoriously unpredictable because the mechanisms of transmission are not fully understood. A transmission barrier between species often prevents infection of a new host with a TSE agent. Nonetheless, some TSE agents are able to cross this barrier and infect new species, with devastating consequences. The host PrP(C) misfolds during disease pathogenesis and has a major role in controlling the transmission of agents between species, but sequence compatibility between host and agent PrP(C) does not fully explain host susceptibility. PrP(C) is posttranslationally modified by the addition of glycan moieties which have an important role in the infectious process. Here, we show in vivo that glycosylation of the host PrP(C) has a significant impact on the transmission of TSE between different host species. We infected mice carrying different glycosylated forms of PrP(C) with two human agents (sCJDMM2 and vCJD) and one hamster strain (263K). The absence of glycosylation at both or the first PrP(C) glycosylation site in the host results in almost complete resistance to disease. The absence of the second site of N-glycan has a dramatic effect on the barrier to transmission between host species, facilitating the transmission of sCJDMM2 to a host normally resistant to this agent. These results highlight glycosylation of PrP(C) as a key factor in determining the transmission efficiency of TSEs between different species.
The risks of transmission of TSE between different species are difficult to predict due to a lack of knowledge over the mechanisms of disease transmission; some strains of TSE are able to cross a species barrier, while others do not. The host protein, PrP(C), plays a major role in disease transmission. PrP(C) undergoes posttranslational glycosylation, and the addition of these glycans may play a role in disease transmission. We infected mice that express different forms of glycosylated PrP(C) with three different TSE agents. We demonstrate that changing the glycosylation status of the host can have profound effects on disease transmission, changing host susceptibility and incubation times. Our results show that PrP(C) glycosylation is a key factor in determining risks of TSE transmission between species.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Journal of Virology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Variably protease-sensitive prionopathy (VPSPr) can occur in persons of all codon 129 genotypes in the human prion protein gene (PRNP) and is characterized by a unique biochemical profile when compared with other human prion diseases. We investigated transmission properties of VPSPr by inoculating transgenic mice expressing human PRNP with brain tissue from 2 persons with the valine-homozygous (VV) and 1 with the heterozygous methionine/valine codon 129 genotype. No clinical signs or vacuolar pathology were observed in any inoculated mice. Small deposits of prion protein accumulated in the brains of inoculated mice after challenge with brain material from VV VPSPr patients. Some of these deposits resembled microplaques that occur in the brains of VPSPr patients. Comparison of these transmission properties with those of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in the same lines of mice indicated that VPSPr has distinct biological properties. Moreover, we established that VPSPr has limited potential for human-to-human transmission.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Emerging infectious diseases
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is now 18 years since the first identification of a case of vCJD in the UK. Since that time there has been much speculation over how vCJD might impact on human health. To date there have been 177 cases reports in the UK and a further 51 cases worldwide in 11 different countries. Since establishing that BSE and vCJD are of the same strain of agent, we have also shown that there is broad similarity between UK and non-UK vCJD cases on first passage to mice. Transgenic mouse studies have indicated that all codon 129 genotypes are susceptible to vCJD and that genotype may influence whether disease appears in a clinical or asymptomatic form, supported by the appearance of the first case of potential asymptomatic vCJD infection in a PRNP 129MV patient. Following evidence of blood transfusion as a route of transmission, we have ascertained that all blood components and leucoreduced blood, in a sheep model of vCJD have the ability to transmit disease. Importantly, we recently established that a PRNP 129MV patient blood recipient with an asymptomatic infection with limited PrP(Sc) deposition in the spleen could readily transmit disease into mice, demonstrating the potential for peripheral infection in the absence of clinical disease. This, along with the recent appendix survey which identified 16 positive appendices in a study of 32 441 cases, underlines the importance of continued CJD surveillance and maintaining control measures already in place to protect human health.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle and variant Creutzfeldt Jacob disease (vCJD) in humans have previously been shown to be caused by the same strain of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) agent. It is hypothesised that the agent spread to humans following consumption of food products prepared from infected cattle. Despite evidence supporting zoonotic transmission, mouse models expressing human prion protein (HuTg) have consistently shown poor transmission rates when inoculated with cattle BSE. Higher rates of transmission have however been observed when these mice are exposed to BSE which has been experimentally transmitted through sheep or goats, indicating that humans may potentially be more susceptible to BSE from small ruminants. Here we demonstrate that increased transmissibility of small ruminant BSE to HuTg mice was not due to replication of higher levels of infectivity in sheep brain tissue, and is instead due to other specific changes in the infectious agent.
Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Journal of General Virology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The risks posed to human health by individual animal prion diseases cannot be determined a priori and are difficult to address empirically. The fundamental event in prion disease pathogenesis is thought to be the seeded conversion of normal prion protein to its pathologic isoform. We used a rapid molecular conversion assay (protein misfolding cyclic amplification) to test whether brain homogenates from specimens of classical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), atypical BSE (H-type BSE and L-type BSE), classical scrapie, atypical scrapie, and chronic wasting disease can convert normal human prion protein to the abnormal disease-associated form. None of the tested prion isolates from diseased animals were as efficient as classical BSE in converting human prion protein. However, in the case of chronic wasting disease, there was no absolute barrier to conversion of the human prion protein.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Emerging Infectious Diseases
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The molecular mechanisms involved in human cellular susceptibility to prion infection remain poorly defined. This is due, in part, to the absence of any well characterized and relevant cultured human cells susceptible to infection with human prions, such as those involved in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. In variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, prion replication is thought to occur first in the lymphoreticular system and then spread into the brain. We have, therefore, examined the susceptibility of a human tonsil-derived follicular dendritic cell-like cell line (HK) to prion infection. HK cells were found to display a readily detectable, time-dependent increase in cell-associated abnormal prion protein (PrP(TSE)) when exposed to medium spiked with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease brain homogenate, resulting in a coarse granular perinuclear PrP(TSE) staining pattern. Despite their high level of cellular prion protein expression, HK cells failed to support infection, as judged by longer term maintenance of PrP(TSE) accumulation. Colocalization studies revealed that exposure of HK cells to brain homogenate resulted in increased numbers of detectable lysosomes and that these structures immunostained intensely for PrP(TSE) after exposure to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease brain homogenate. Our data suggest that human follicular dendritic-like cells and perhaps other human cell types are able to avoid prion infection by efficient lysosomal degradation of PrP(TSE).
Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · American Journal Of Pathology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Misfolding and aggregation of proteins is a common pathogenic mechanism of a group of diseases called proteinopathies. The formation and spread of proteinaceous lesions within and between individuals was first described in prion diseases and proposed as the basis of its infectious nature. Recently a similar "prion-like" mechanism of transmission has been proposed in other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. We investigated if misfolding and aggregation of corrupted prion protein (PrP(TSE)) is always associated with horizontal transmission of disease. Knock-in transgenic mice (101LL) expressing mutant PrP (PrP-101L) that are susceptible to disease but do not develop any spontaneous neurological phenotype were inoculated with (i) brain extracts containing PrP(TSE) from healthy 101LL mice with PrP plaques in the corpus callosum or (ii) mice overexpressing PrP-101L with neurological disease, severe spongiform encephalopathy and formation of proteinase-K-resistant PrP(TSE). In all instances, 101LL mice developed PrP plaques in the area of inoculation and vicinity in the absence of clinical disease or spongiform degeneration of the brain. Importantly 101LL mice did not transmit disease on serial passage ruling out the presence of subclinical infection. Thus, in both experimental models formation of PrP(TSE) is not infectious. These results have implications for the interpretation of tests based on the detection of protein aggregates and suggest that de novo formation of PrP(TSE) in the host does not always result in a transmissible prion disease. In addition, these results question the validity of assuming that all diseases due to protein misfolding can be transmitted between individuals.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Journal of Virology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Blood transfusion has been identified as a source of human-to-human transmission of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Three cases of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease have been identified following red cell transfusions from donors who subsequently developed variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and an asymptomatic red cell transfusion recipient, who did not die of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, has been identified with prion protein deposition in the spleen and a lymph node, but not the brain. This individual was heterozygous (MV) at codon 129 of the prion protein gene (PRNP), whereas all previous definite and probable cases of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease have been methionine homozygotes (MM). A critical question for public health is whether the prion protein deposition reported in peripheral tissues from this MV individual correlates with infectivity. Additionally it is important to establish whether the PRNP codon 129 genotype has influenced the transmission characteristics of the infectious agent. Brain and spleen from the MV blood recipient were inoculated into murine strains that have consistently demonstrated transmission of the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease agent. Mice were assessed for clinical and pathological signs of disease and transmission data were compared with other transmission studies in variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, including those on the spleen and brain of the donor to the index case. Transmission of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease was observed from the MV blood recipient spleen, but not from the brain, whereas there was transmission from both spleen and brain tissues from the red blood cell donor. Longer incubation times were observed for the blood donor spleen inoculum compared with the blood donor brain inoculum, suggesting lower titres of infectivity in the spleen. The distribution of vacuolar pathology and abnormal prion protein in infected mice were similar following inoculation with both donor and recipient spleen homogenates, providing initial evidence of similar transmission properties after propagation in PRNP codon 129 MV and MM individuals. These studies demonstrate that spleen tissue from a PRNP MV genotype individual can propagate the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease agent and that the infectious agent can be present in the spleen without CNS involvement.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The agents responsible for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), or prion diseases, contain as a major component PrP(Sc), an abnormal conformer of the host glycoprotein PrP(C). TSE agents are distinguished by differences in phenotypic properties in the host, which nevertheless can contain PrP(Sc) with the same amino-acid sequence. If PrP alone carries information defining strain properties, these must be encoded by post-translational events. Here we investigated whether the glycosylation status of host PrP affects TSE strain characteristics. We inoculated wild-type mice with three TSE strains passaged through transgenic mice with PrP devoid of glycans at the first, second or both N-glycosylation sites. We compared the infectious properties of the emerging isolates with TSE strains passaged in wild-type mice by in vivo strain typing and by the standard scrapie cell assay in vitro. Strain-specific characteristics of the 79A TSE strain changed when PrP(Sc) was devoid of one or both glycans. Thus infectious properties of a TSE strain can be altered by post-translational changes to PrP which we propose result in the selection of mutant TSE strains.
No preview · Article · Feb 2013 · The EMBO Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) has been reported in 12 countries. We hypothesized that a common strain of agent is responsible for all vCJD cases, regardless of geographic origin. To test this hypothesis, we inoculated strain-typing panels of wild-type mice with brain material from human vCJD case-patients from France, the Netherlands, Italy, and the United States. Mice were assessed for clinical disease, neuropathologic changes, and glycoform profile; results were compared with those for 2 reference vCJD cases from the United Kingdom. Transmission to mice occurred from each sample tested, and data were similar between non-UK and UK cases, with the exception of the ranking of mean clinical incubation times of mouse lines. These findings support the hypothesis that a single strain of infectious agent is responsible for all vCJD infections. However, differences in incubation times require further subpassage in mice to establish any true differences in strain properties between cases.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · Emerging Infectious Diseases
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The susceptibility of sheep to prion infection is linked to variation in the PRNP gene, which encodes the prion protein. Common polymorphisms occur at codons 136, 154 and 171. Sheep which are homozygous for the A136R154Q171 allele are the most susceptible to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The effect of other polymorphisms on BSE susceptibility is unknown. We orally infected ARQ/ARQ Cheviot sheep with equal amounts of BSE brain homogenate and a range of incubation periods was observed. When we segregated sheep according to the amino acid (L or F) encoded at codon 141 of the PRNP gene, the shortest incubation period was observed in LL141 sheep whilst incubation periods in FF141 and LF141 sheep were significantly longer. No statistically significant differences existed in the expression of total prion protein or the disease-associated isoform in BSE-infected sheep within each genotype subgroup. This suggested that the amino acid encoded at codon 141 likely affects incubation times through direct effects on protein misfolding rates.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · Journal of General Virology