Prion diseases are characterized by tissue accumulation of a misfolded, β-sheet-enriched isoform (scrapie prion protein (PrP(Sc)) of the cellular prion protein (PrP(C)). At variance with PrP(C), PrP(Sc) shows a partial resistance to protease digestion and forms highly aggregated and detergent-insoluble polymers, two properties that have been consistently used to distinguish the two proteins. In recent years, however, the idea that PrP(Sc) itself comprises heterogeneous species has grown. Most importantly, a putative proteinase K (PK)-sensitive form of PrP(Sc) (sPrP(Sc)) is being increasingly investigated for its possible role in prion infectivity, neurotoxicity, and strain variability. The study of sPrP(Sc), however, remains technically challenging because of the need of separating it from PrP(C) without using proteases. In this study, we have systematically analyzed both PK resistance and the aggregation state of purified PrP(Sc) across the whole spectrum of the currently characterized human prion strains. The results show that PrP(Sc) isolates manifest significant strain-specific differences in their PK digestion profile that are only partially explained by differences in the size of aggregates, suggesting that other factors, likely acting on PrP(Sc) aggregate stability, determine its resistance to proteolysis. Fully protease-sensitive low molecular weight aggregates were detected in all isolates but in a limited proportion of the overall PrP(Sc) (i.e. <10%), arguing against a significant role of slowly sedimenting PK-sensitive PrP(Sc) in the biogenesis of prion strains. Finally, we highlight the limitations of current operational definitions of sPrP(Sc) and of the quantitative analytical measurements that are not based on the isolation of a fully PK-sensitive PrP(Sc) form.

Analyses of Protease Resistance and Aggregation State of Abnormal Prion Protein across the Spectrum of Human Prions

SAVERIONI, DANIELA;CAPELLARI, SABINA;POGGIOLINI, ILARIA;PARCHI, PIERO
2013

Abstract

Prion diseases are characterized by tissue accumulation of a misfolded, β-sheet-enriched isoform (scrapie prion protein (PrP(Sc)) of the cellular prion protein (PrP(C)). At variance with PrP(C), PrP(Sc) shows a partial resistance to protease digestion and forms highly aggregated and detergent-insoluble polymers, two properties that have been consistently used to distinguish the two proteins. In recent years, however, the idea that PrP(Sc) itself comprises heterogeneous species has grown. Most importantly, a putative proteinase K (PK)-sensitive form of PrP(Sc) (sPrP(Sc)) is being increasingly investigated for its possible role in prion infectivity, neurotoxicity, and strain variability. The study of sPrP(Sc), however, remains technically challenging because of the need of separating it from PrP(C) without using proteases. In this study, we have systematically analyzed both PK resistance and the aggregation state of purified PrP(Sc) across the whole spectrum of the currently characterized human prion strains. The results show that PrP(Sc) isolates manifest significant strain-specific differences in their PK digestion profile that are only partially explained by differences in the size of aggregates, suggesting that other factors, likely acting on PrP(Sc) aggregate stability, determine its resistance to proteolysis. Fully protease-sensitive low molecular weight aggregates were detected in all isolates but in a limited proportion of the overall PrP(Sc) (i.e. <10%), arguing against a significant role of slowly sedimenting PK-sensitive PrP(Sc) in the biogenesis of prion strains. Finally, we highlight the limitations of current operational definitions of sPrP(Sc) and of the quantitative analytical measurements that are not based on the isolation of a fully PK-sensitive PrP(Sc) form.
D. Saverioni;S. Notari;S. Capellari;I. Poggiolini;A. Giese;H. A. Kretzschmar;P. Parchi
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/206827
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