Human familial prion diseases are associated with mutations at 34 different prion protein (PrP) amino acid residues. However, it is unclear whether infectious prions are found in all cases. Mutant PrP itself may be neurotoxic, or alternatively, PrP mutation might predispose to spontaneous formation of infectious PrP isoforms. Previous reports demonstrated transmission to animal models by human brain tissue expressing 7 different PrP mutations, but 3 other mutations were not transmissible. In the present work, we tested transmission using brain homogenates from patients expressing 3 untested PrP mutants: G131V, Y226X, and Q227X. Human brain homogenates were injected intracerebrally into tg66 transgenic mice overexpressing human PrP. Mice were followed for nearly 800 days.From 593 to 762 dpi, 4 of 8 mice injected with Y226X brain had PrPSc detectable in brain by immunostaining, immunoblot, and PrP amyloid seeding activity assayed by RT-QuIC. From 531 to 784 dpi, 11 of 11 G131V-injected mice had PrPSc deposition in brain, but none were positive by immunoblot or RT-QuIC assay. In contrast, from 529 to 798 dpi, no tg66 mice injected with Q227X brain had PrPSc or PrP amyloid seeding activity detectable by these methods. Y226X is the only one of 4 known PrP truncations associated with familial disease which has been shown to be transmissible. This transmission of prion infectivity from a patient expressing truncated human PrP may have implications for the spread and possible transmission of other aggregated truncated proteins in prion-like diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and tauopathies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience