Pathogenic mutations within the hydrophobic domain of the prion protein lead to the formation of protease-sensitive prion species with increased lethality

Bradley Coleman, Christopher Harrison, Belinda Guo, Colin Masters, Kevin Barnham, Victoria Lawson, Andrew Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Prion diseases are a group of fatal and incurable neurodegenerative diseases affecting both humans and animals. The principal mechanism of these diseases involves the misfolding the host-encoded cellular prion protein, PrPC, into the disease-associated isoform, PrPSc. Familial forms of human prion disease include those associated with the mutations G114V and A117V, which lie in the hydrophobic domain of PrP. Here we have studied the murine homologues (G113V and A116V) of these mutations using cell-based and animal models of prion infection. Under normal circumstances, the mutant forms of PrPC share similar processing, cellular localization, and physicochemical properties with wild-type mouse PrP (MoPrP). However, upon exposure of susceptible cell lines expressing these mutants to infectious prions, very low levels of protease-resistant aggregated PrPSc are formed. Subsequent mouse bioassay revealed high levels of infectivity present in these cells. Thus, these mutations appear to limit the formation of aggregated PrPSc, giving rise to the accumulation of a relatively soluble, protease sensitive, prion species that is highly neurotoxic. Given that these mutations lie next to the glycine-rich region of PrP that can abrogate prion infection, these findings provide further support for small, protease-sensitive prion species having a significant role in the progression of prion disease and that the hydrophobic domain is an important determinant of PrP conversion. © 2014, American Society for Microbiology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2690-2703
JournalJournal of Virology
Volume88
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

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