Development of a sensitive real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) assay for application in prion-infected blood.

Charlotte Thomas, Khalid Salamat, Christopher De Wolf, Sandra McCutcheon, Richard Alejo-Blanco, Jean C. Manson, Nora Hunter, Fiona Houston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Efforts to prevent human-to-human transmission of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) by contaminated blood would be aided by the development of a sensitive diagnostic test that could be routinely used to screen blood donations. As blood samples from vCJD patients are extremely rare, here we describe the optimisation of real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) for detection of PrPSc (misfolded prion protein, a marker of prion infection) in blood samples from an established large animal model of vCJD, sheep experimentally infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Comparative endpoint titration experiments with RT-QuIC, miniaturized bead protein misfolding cyclic amplification (mb-PMCA) and intracerebral inoculation of a transgenic mouse line expressing sheep PrP (tgOvARQ), demonstrated highly sensitive detection of PrPSc by RT-QuIC in a reference sheep brain homogenate. Upon addition of a capture step with iron oxide beads, the RT-QuIC assay was able to detect PrPSc in whole blood samples from BSE-infected sheep up to two years before disease onset. Both RT-QuIC and mb-PMCA also demonstrated sensitive detection of PrPSc in a reference vCJD-infected human brain homogenate, suggesting that either assay may be suitable for application to human blood samples. Our results support the further development and evaluation of RT-QuIC as a diagnostic or screening test for vCJD.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0293845
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
Early online date2 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Animals
  • Brain/metabolism
  • Cattle
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome/diagnosis
  • Encephalopathy, Bovine Spongiform/diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Prion Proteins/metabolism
  • Prions/metabolism
  • Sheep


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