Background: Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is a known zoonotic prion disease, resulting in variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in humans. In contrast, classical scrapie in sheep is thought to offer little or no danger to human health. However, a widening range of prion diseases have been recognised in cattle, sheep and deer. The risks posed by individual animal prion diseases to human health cannot be determined a priori and are difficult to assess empirically. The fundamental event in prion disease pathogenesis is thought to be the seeded conversion of normal prion protein (PrPC) to its pathological isoform (PrPSc). Here we report the use of a rapid molecular conversion assay to test whether brain specimens from different animal prion diseases are capable of seeding the conversion of human PrPC to PrPSc. Materials and Methods: Classical BSE (C-type BSE), H-type BSE, L-type BSE, classical scrapie, atypical scrapie, chronic wasting disease and vCJD brain homogenates were tested for their ability to seed conversion of human PrPC to PrPSc in protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) reactions. Newly formed human PrPSc was detected by protease digestion and Western blotting using the antibody 3F4. Results: C-type BSE and vCJD were found to efficiently convert PrPC to PrPSc. Scrapie failed to convert human PrPC to PrPSc. Of the other animal prion diseases tested only chronic wasting disease appeared to have the capability to convert human PrPC to PrPSc. The results were consistent whether the human PrPC came from human brain, humanised transgenic mouse brain or from cultured human cells and the effect was more pronounced for PrPC with methionine at codon 129 compared to that with valine. Conclusions: Our results show that none of the tested animal prion disease isolates are as efficient as C-type BSE and vCJD in converting human prion protein in this in vitro assay. However, they also show that there is no absolute barrier to conversion of human prion protein in the case of chronic wasting disease.
|Publication status||Published - 26 May 2013|
|Event||Prion 2013 - Banff, Canada|
Duration: 26 May 2013 → 29 May 2013