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Prion transmission prevented by modifying the β2-α2 loop structure of host PrPC


Kurt, Timothy D; Bett, Cyrus; Fernández-Borges, Natalia; Joshi-Barr, Shivanjali; Hornemann, Simone; Rülicke, Thomas; Castilla, Joaquín; Wüthrich, Kurt; Aguzzi, Adriano; Sigurdson, Christina J (2014). Prion transmission prevented by modifying the β2-α2 loop structure of host PrPC. Journal of Neuroscience, 34(3):1022-1027.

Abstract

Zoonotic prion transmission was reported after the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) epidemic, when >200 cases of prion disease in humans were diagnosed as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Assessing the risk of cross-species prion transmission remains challenging. We and others have studied how specific amino acid residue differences between species impact prion conversion and have found that the β2-α2 loop region of the mouse prion protein (residues 165-175) markedly influences infection by sheep scrapie, BSE, mouse-adapted scrapie, deer chronic wasting disease, and hamster-adapted scrapie prions. The tyrosine residue at position 169 is strictly conserved among mammals and an aromatic side chain in this position is essential to maintain a 310-helical turn in the β2-α2 loop. Here we examined the impact of the Y169G substitution together with the previously described S170N, N174T "rigid loop" substitutions on cross-species prion transmission in vivo and in vitro. We found that transgenic mice expressing mouse PrP containing the triple-amino acid substitution completely resisted infection with two strains of mouse prions and with deer chronic wasting disease prions. These studies indicate that Y169 is important for prion formation, and they provide a strong indication that variation of the β2-α2 loop structure can modulate interspecies prion transmission.

Zoonotic prion transmission was reported after the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) epidemic, when >200 cases of prion disease in humans were diagnosed as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Assessing the risk of cross-species prion transmission remains challenging. We and others have studied how specific amino acid residue differences between species impact prion conversion and have found that the β2-α2 loop region of the mouse prion protein (residues 165-175) markedly influences infection by sheep scrapie, BSE, mouse-adapted scrapie, deer chronic wasting disease, and hamster-adapted scrapie prions. The tyrosine residue at position 169 is strictly conserved among mammals and an aromatic side chain in this position is essential to maintain a 310-helical turn in the β2-α2 loop. Here we examined the impact of the Y169G substitution together with the previously described S170N, N174T "rigid loop" substitutions on cross-species prion transmission in vivo and in vitro. We found that transgenic mice expressing mouse PrP containing the triple-amino acid substitution completely resisted infection with two strains of mouse prions and with deer chronic wasting disease prions. These studies indicate that Y169 is important for prion formation, and they provide a strong indication that variation of the β2-α2 loop structure can modulate interspecies prion transmission.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Institute of Neuropathology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:11 Mar 2014 14:11
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:40
Publisher:Society for Neuroscience
ISSN:0270-6474
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4636-13.2014
PubMed ID:24431459
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-92716

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