Molecular Bases of Disease
- Prion diseases are fatal infectious neurodegenerative disorders in human and animals caused by misfolding of the cellular prion protein (PrPC) into the pathological isoform PrPSc. Elucidating the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying prion propagation may help to develop disease interventions. Cell culture systems for prion propagation have greatly advanced molecular insights into prion biology, but translation of in vitro to in vivo findings is often disappointing. A wider range of cell culture systems might help overcome these shortcomings.
- Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that affects cervids in North America and now Europe. No effective measures are available to control CWD. We hypothesized that active vaccination with homologous and aggregation-prone recombinant prion protein (PrP) could overcome self-tolerance and induce autoantibody production against the cellular isoform of PrP (PrPC), which would be protective against CWD infection from peripheral routes. Five groups of transgenic mice expressing elk PrP (TgElk) were vaccinated with either the adjuvant CpG alone or one of four recombinant PrP immunogens: deer dimer (Ddi); deer monomer (Dmo); mouse dimer (Mdi); and mouse monomer (Mmo).
- Prion diseases are fatal infectious neurodegenerative disorders in humans and other animals and are caused by misfolding of the cellular prion protein (PrPC) into the pathological isoform PrPSc. These diseases have the potential to transmit within or between species, including zoonotic transmission to humans. Elucidating the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying prion propagation and transmission is therefore critical for developing molecular strategies for disease intervention. We have shown previously that impaired quality control mechanisms directly influence prion propagation.
- Prions are protein-based infectious agents that autocatalytically convert the cellular prion protein PrPC to its pathological isoform PrPSc. Subsequent aggregation and accumulation of PrPSc in nervous tissues causes several invariably fatal neurodegenerative diseases in humans and animals. Prions can infect recipient cells when packaged into endosome-derived nanoparticles called exosomes, which are present in biological fluids such as blood, urine, and saliva. Autophagy is a basic cellular degradation and recycling machinery that also affects exosomal processing, but whether autophagy controls release of prions in exosomes is unclear.