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Detection of protease-resistant cervid prion protein in water from a CWD-endemic area

Posted Oct 14 2009 10:00pm
Detection of protease-resistant cervid prion protein in water from a CWD-endemic area

T.A. Nichols,1,2 Bruce Pulford,1 A. Christy Wyckoff,1,2 Crystal Meyerett,1 Brady Michel,1 Kevin Gertig,3 Edward A. Hoover,1 Jean E. Jewell,4 Glenn C. Telling5 and Mark D. Zabel1,*

1Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology; College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Colorado State University; Fort Collins, CO USA; 2National Wildlife Research Center; Wildlife Services; United States Department of Agriculture; Fort Collins, CO USA; 3Fort Collins Utilities; Fort Collins; CO USA; 4Department of Veterinary Sciences; Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory; University of Wyoming; Laramie, WY USA; 5Department of Microbiology, Immunology, Molecular Genetics and Neurology; Sanders Brown Center on Aging; University of Kentucky; Lexington, KY USA

Key words: prions, chronic wasting disease, water, environment, serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification Abbreviations: CWD, chronic wasting disease; sPMCA, serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification; PrPC, cellular prion protein; PrPSc, disease-related, misfolded murine PrP; PrPCWD, disease-related, misfolded cervid PrP; PrPRES, protease-resistant PrP; FCWTF, Fort Collins water treatment facility

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is the only known transmissible spongiform encephalopathy affecting free-ranging wildlife. Although the exact mode of natural transmission remains unknown, substantial evidence suggests that prions can persist in the environment, implicating components thereof as potential prion reservoirs and transmission vehicles.1-4 CWD-positive animals may contribute to environmental prion load via decomposing carcasses and biological materials including saliva, blood, urine and feces.5-7 Sensitivity limitations of conventional assays hamper evaluation of environmental prion loads in soil and water. Here we show the ability of serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification (sPMCA) to amplify a 1.3 x 10-7 dilution of CWD-infected brain homogenate spiked into water samples, equivalent to approximately 5 x 107 protease resistant cervid prion protein (PrPCWD) monomers. We also detected PrPCWD in one of two environmental water samples from a CWD endemic area collected at a time of increased water runoff from melting winter snow pack, as well as in water samples obtained concurrently from the flocculation stage of water processing by the municipal water treatment facility. Bioassays indicated that the PrPCWD detected was below infectious levels. These data demonstrate detection of very low levels of PrPCWD in the environment by sPMCA and suggest persistence and accumulation of prions in the environment that may promote CWD transmission.

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The data presented here demonstrate that sPMCA can detect low levels of PrPCWD in the environment, corroborate previous biological and experimental data suggesting long term persistence of prions in the environment2,3 and imply that PrPCWD accumulation over time may contribute to transmission of CWD in areas where it has been endemic for decades. This work demonstrates the utility of sPMCA to evaluate other environmental water sources for PrPCWD, including smaller bodies of water such as vernal pools and wallows, where large numbers of cervids congregate and into which prions from infected animals may be shed and concentrated to infectious levels.

http://www.landesbioscience.com/journals/prion/NicholsPRION3-3.pdf





Monday, August 24, 2009

Third International CWD Symposium July 22-24, 2009 – Park City, Utah ABSTRACTS


http://chronic-wasting-disease.blogspot.com/2009/08/third-international-cwd-symp




Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Infectious Prions in Pre-Clinical Deer and Transmission of Chronic Wasting Disease Solely by Environmental Exposure



http://chronic-wasting-disease.blogspot.com/2009_06_01_archive.html






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