CWD PRION 2010
International Prion Congress: From agent to disease September 8–11, 2010 Salzburg, Austria
PRION 2010 is the top Global Annual TSE Conference in prion research, following a sequence of PRION meetings that were originally organized by the EU Network of Excellence NeuroPrion. In this proud tradition, PRION 2010 covers all aspects of this fascinating scientific area. PRION 2010 is a meeting of greatest interest for neuroscientists, protein structural biologists, geneticists, medical specialists including neurologists, neuropathologists, hygiene experts and blood product providers, veterinarians, epidemiologists, laboratory technicians, industry developers, risk assessors and managers. An outstanding list of Plenary Lecture, Symposia and Workshop Speakers is complemented by the plethora of original input from Poster Presentations. Special consideration is given this year to two areas of major interest: the renewed discussion about the zoonotic potential of animal prion diseases, given the emergence of atypical BSE and scrapie strains, and the breakthrough work on synthetic prions by several groups simultaneously.
Survival and Limited Spread of TSE Infectivity after Burial
Karen Fernie, Allister Smith and Robert A. Somerville The Roslin Institute and R(D)SVS; University of Edinburgh; Roslin, Scotland UK
Scrapie and chronic wasting disease probably spread via environmental routes, and there are also concerns about BSE infection remaining in the environment after carcass burial or waste 3disposal. In two demonstration experiments we are determining survival and migration of TSE infectivity when buried for up to five years, as an uncontained point source or within bovine heads. Firstly boluses of TSE infected mouse brain were buried in lysimeters containing either sandy or clay soil. Migration from the boluses is being assessed from soil cores taken over time. With the exception of a very small amount of infectivity found 25 cm from the bolus in sandy soil after 12 months, no other infectivity has been detected up to three years. Secondly, ten bovine heads were spiked with TSE infected mouse brain and buried in the two soil types. Pairs of heads have been exhumed annually and assessed for infectivity within and around them. After one year and after two years, infectivity was detected in most intracranial samples and in some of the soil samples taken from immediately surrounding the heads. The infectivity assays for the samples in and around the heads exhumed at years three and four are underway. These data show that TSE infectivity can survive burial for long periods but migrates slowly. Risk assessments should take into account the likely long survival rate when infected material has been buried. The authors gratefully acknowledge funding from DEFRA.
Degradation of Pathogenic Prion Protein and Prion Infectivity by Lichens
Christopher J. Johnson,1 James P. Bennett,1 Steven M. Biro,1,2 Cynthia M. Rodriguez,1,2 Richard A. Bessen3 and Tonie E. Rocke1
1USGS National Wildlife Health Center; 2Department of Bacteriology; University of Wisconsin, Madison; 3Department of Veterinary Molecular Biology; Montana State University; Bozeman, MT USA
Key words: prion, lichen, bioassay, protease, degradation
Few biological systems have been identified that degrade the transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE)-associated form of the prion protein (PrPTSE) and TSE infectivity. Stability of the TSE agent allows scrapie and chronic wasting disease agents to persist in the environment and cause disease for years. Naturally-occurring or engineered processes that reduce infectivity in the environment could aid in limiting environmental TSE transmission. We have previously identified that species of at least three lichens, unusual, symbiotic organisms formed from a fungus and photosynthetic partner, contain a serine protease capable of degrading PrPTSE under gentle conditions. We tested the hypothesis that lichen extracts from these three species reduce TSE infectivity by treating infected brain homogenate with extracts and examining infectivity in mice. We found lichen extracts diminished TSE infectious titer by factors of 100 to 1,000 and that reductions in infectivity were not well-correlated with the extent of PrPTSE degradation observed by immunoblotting. For example, treatment of brain homogenate with Cladonia rangiferina extract caused <100-fold reduction in PrP immunoreactivity but ~1,000-fold decrease in infectivity, suggesting that some PrPTSE remaining after extract treatment was rendered uninfectious or that the lichen protease favors more infectious forms of PrPTSE. Our data also indicate that lichen species closely related to those with prion-degrading protease activity do not necessarily degrade PrPTSE. Characterization of the lichen species-specificity of PrPTSE degradation within the genera Cladonia and Usnea and comparison with known lichen phylogeny has yielded clusters of species on which to focus searches for anti-prion agents.
PPo8-14: Enzymatic Digestion of Chronic Wasting Disease Prions Bound to Soil
Samuel E. Saunders,1 Jason C. Bartz,2 Kurt C. Vercauteren3 and Shannon L. Bartelt-Hunt1 1Department of Civil Engineering; University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Peter Kiewit Institute; Omaha, Nebraska USA; 2Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology; Creighton University; Omaha, Nebraska USA; 3USDA; Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; Wildlife Services; National Wildlife Research Center; Fort Collins, CO USA
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) and sheep scrapie can be transmitted via indirect environmental routes, and it is known that soil can serve as a reservoir of prion infectivity. Given the strong interaction between the prion protein (PrP) and soil, we hypothesized that binding to soil enhances prion resistance to enzymatic digestion, thereby facilitating prion longevity in the environment and providing protection from host degradation. We characterized the performance of a commercially available subtilisin enzyme, the Prionzyme, to degrade soil-bound and unbound CWD and HY TME PrP as a function of pH, temperature, and treatment time. The subtilisin enzyme effectively degraded PrP adsorbed to a wide range of soils and soil minerals below the limits of detection. Signal loss occurred rapidly at high pH (12.5) and within 7 d under conditions representative of the natural environment (pH 7.4, 22°C). Serial PMCA of treated soil samples suggests a greater than 6-log decrease in infectious titer compared with controls. We observed no apparent difference in enzyme effectiveness between bound and unbound CWD PrP. Our results show that although adsorbed prions do retain relative resistance to enzymatic digestion compared with other brain homogenate proteins, they can be effectively degraded when bound to soil. Our results also suggest a topical application of a subtilisin enzyme solution may be an effective decontamination method to limit disease transmission via environmental ‘hot spots’ of prion infectivity.
Generation of a Novel form of Human PrPSc by Inter-species Transmission of Cervid Prions
Marcelo A. Barria,1 Glenn C. Telling,2 Pierluigi Gambetti,3 James A. Mastrianni4 and Claudio Soto1 1Mitchell Center for Alzheimer’s disease and related Brain disorders; Dept of Neurology; University of Texas Houston Medical School; Houston, TX USA; 2Dept of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics and Neurology; Sanders Brown Center on Aging; University of Kentucky Medical Center; Lexington, KY USA; 3Institute of Pathology; Case western Reserve University; Cleveland, OH USA; 4Dept of Neurology; University of Chicago; Chicago, IL USA
Prion diseases are infectious neurodegenerative disorders affecting humans and animals that result from the conversion of normal prion protein (PrPC) into the misfolded and infectious prion (PrPSc). Chronic wasting disease (CWD) of cervids is a prion disorder of increasing prevalence within the United States that affects a large population of wild and captive deer and elk. CWD is highly contagious and its origin, mechanism of transmission and exact prevalence are currently unclear. The risk of transmission of CWD to humans is unknown. Defining that risk is of utmost importance, considering that people have been infected by animal prions, resulting in new fatal diseases. To study the possibility that human PrPC can be converted into the infectious form by CWD PrPSc we performed experiments using the Protein Misfolding Cyclic Amplification (PMCA) technique, which mimic in vitro the process of prion replication. Our results show that cervid PrPSc can induce the pathological conversion of human PrPC, but only after the CWD prion strain has been stabilized by successive passages in vitro or in vivo. Interestingly, this newly generated human PrPSc exhibits a distinct biochemical pattern that differs from any of the currently known forms of human PrPSc, indicating that it corresponds to a novel human prion strain. Our findings suggest that CWD prions have the capability to infect humans, and that this ability depends on CWD strain adaptation, implying that the risk for human health progressively increases with the spread of CWD among cervids.
Prion Transmission from Cervids to Humans is Strain-dependent
Qingzhong Kong, Shenghai Huang,*Fusong Chen, Michael Payne, Pierluigi Gambetti and Liuting Qing Department of Pathology; Case western Reserve University; Cleveland, OH USA *Current address: Nursing Informatics; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; New York, NY USA
Key words: CWD, strain, human transmission
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a widespread prion disease in cervids (deer and elk) in North America where significant human exposure to CWD is likely and zoonotic transmission of CWD is a concern. Current evidence indicates a strong barrier for transmission of the classical CWD strain to humans with the PrP-129MM genotype. A few recent reports suggest the presence of two or more CWD strains. What remain unknown is whether individuals with the PrP-129VV/MV genotypes are also resistant to the classical CWD strain and whether humans are resistant to all natural or adapted cervid prion strains. Here we report that a human prion strain that had adopted the cervid prion protein (PrP) sequence through passage in cervidized transgenic mice efficiently infected transgenic mice expressing human PrP, indicating that the species barrier from cervid to humans is prion strain-dependent and humans can be vulnerable to novel cervid prion strains. Preliminary results on CWD transmission in transgenic mice expressing human PrP-129V will also be discussed.
Acknowledgement Supported by NINDS NS052319 and NIA AG14359.