Fate of prions in soil: detergent extraction of PrP from soils

Cindy M Cooke, Joanne Rodger, Allister Smith, Karen Fernie, George Shaw, Robert A Somerville

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are caused by infectious agents whose structures have not been fully characterized but include abnormal forms of the host protein PrP, designated PrP(Sc), which are deposited in infected tissues. The transmission routes of scrapie and chronic wasting disease (CWD) seem to include environmental spread in their epidemiology, yet the fate of TSE agents in the environment is poorly understood. There are concerns that, for example, buried carcasses may remain a potential reservoir of infectivity for many years. Experimental determination of the environmental fate requires methods for assessing binding/elution of TSE infectivity, or its surrogate marker PrP(Sc), to and from materials with which it might interact. We report a method using Sarkosyl for the extraction of murine PrP(Sc), and its application to soils containing recombinant ovine PrP (recPrP). Elution properties suggest that PrP binds strongly to one or more soil components. Elution from a clay soil also required proteinase K digestion, suggesting that in the clay soil binding occurs via the N-terminal of PrP to a component that is absent from the sandy soils tested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-7
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume41
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007

Keywords

  • Aluminum Silicates
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Blotting, Western
  • Detergents/chemistry
  • Endopeptidase K/metabolism
  • Mice
  • PrPSc Proteins/chemistry
  • PrPSc Proteins/isolation & purification
  • Prion Diseases/pathology
  • Prion Diseases/transmission
  • Prion Diseases/veterinary
  • Prions/metabolism
  • Prions/pathogenicity
  • Scrapie/pathology
  • Scrapie/transmission
  • Sheep
  • Soil
  • Time Factors
  • Wasting Disease, Chronic/pathology
  • Wasting Disease, Chronic/transmission

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