Spontaneous Generation of Prions and Transmissible PrP Amyloid in a Humanised Transgenic Mouse Model of A117V GSS

June 16, 2020 | Biology

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Freshly curated from PLOS Biology, Lab.Equipment brings you this article for your everyday Biology news fix.

by Emmanuel A. Asante, Jacqueline M. Linehan, Andrew Tomlinson, Tatiana Jakubcova, Shyma Hamdan, Andrew Grimshaw, Michelle Smidak, Asif Jeelani, Akin Nihat, Simon Mead, Sebastian Brandner, Jonathan D. F. Wadsworth, John Collinge

Inherited prion diseases are caused by autosomal dominant coding mutations in the human prion protein (PrP) gene (PRNP) and account for about 15% of human prion disease cases worldwide. The proposed mechanism is that the mutation predisposes to conformational change in the expressed protein, leading to the generation of disease-related multichain PrP assemblies that propagate by seeded protein misfolding. Despite considerable experimental support for this hypothesis, to-date spontaneous formation of disease-relevant, transmissible PrP assemblies in transgenic models expressing only mutant human PrP has not been demonstrated. Here, we report findings from transgenic mice that express human PrP 117V on a mouse PrP null background (117VV Tg30 mice), which model the PRNP A117V mutation causing inherited prion disease (IPD) including Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker (GSS) disease phenotypes in humans. By studying brain samples from uninoculated groups of mice, we discovered that some mice (≥475 days old) spontaneously generated abnormal PrP assemblies, which after inoculation into further groups of 117VV Tg30 mice, produced a molecular and neuropathological phenotype congruent with that seen after transmission of brain isolates from IPD A117V patients to the same mice. To the best of our knowledge, the 117VV Tg30 mouse line is the first transgenic model expressing only mutant human PrP to show spontaneous generation of transmissible PrP assemblies that directly mirror those generated in an inherited prion disease in humans... Read more of this in the PLOS Biology Blog.

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