The biochemical and neuropathological properties of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) prions are faithfully maintained upon transmission to guinea pigs. However, primary and secondary transmissions of BSE and vCJD in guinea pigs result in long incubation periods of ~450 and ~350 days, respectively. To determine if the incubation periods of BSE and vCJD prions could be shortened, we generated transgenic (Tg) mice expressing guinea pig prion protein (GPPrP). Inoculation of Tg(GPPrP) mice with BSE and vCJD prions resulted in mean incubation periods of 210 and 199 days, respectively, which shortened to 137 and 122 days upon serial transmission. In contrast, three different isolates of sporadic CJD prions failed to transmit disease to Tg(GPPrP) mice. Many of the strain-specified biochemical and neuropathological properties of BSE and vCJD prions, including the presence of type 2 protease-resistant PrPSc, were preserved upon propagation in Tg(GPPrP) mice. Structural modeling revealed that two residues near the N-terminal region of α-helix 1 in GPPrP might mediate its susceptibility to BSE and vCJD prions. Our results demonstrate that expression of GPPrP in Tg mice supports the rapid propagation of BSE and vCJD prions and suggest that Tg(GPPrP) mice may serve as a useful paradigm for bioassaying these prion isolates.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science