Glycosaminoglycan sulphation affects the seeded misfolding of a mutant prion protein

Lawson, Victoria A ORCID: 0000-0002-7362-7176, Lumicisi, Brooke, Welton, Jeremy M, Machalek, Dorothy, Gouramanis, Katrina, Klemm, Helen M, Stewart, James D, Masters, Colin L ORCID: 0000-0003-3072-7940, Hoke, David E, Collins, Steven J and Hill, Andrew F ORCID: 0000-0001-5581-2354 (2010) Glycosaminoglycan sulphation affects the seeded misfolding of a mutant prion protein. PLoS ONE, 5 (8). ISSN 1932-6203


Background: The accumulation of protease resistant conformers of the prion protein (PrPres) is a key pathological feature of prion diseases. Polyanions, including RNA and glycosaminoglycans have been identified as factors that contribute to the propagation, transmission and pathogenesis of prion disease. Recent studies have suggested that the contribution of these cofactors to prion propagation may be species specific. Methodology/Principal Finding: In this study a cell-free assay was used to investigate the molecular basis of polyanion stimulated PrPres formation using brain tissue or cell line derived murine PrP. Enzymatic depletion of endogenous nucleic acids or heparan sulphate (HS) from the PrPC substrate was found to specifically prevent PrPres formation seeded by mouse derived PrPSc. Modification of the negative charge afforded by the sulphation of glycosaminoglycans increased the ability of a familial PrP mutant to act as a substrate for PrPres formation, while having no effect on PrPres formed by wildtype PrP. This difference may be due to the observed differences in the binding of wild type and mutant PrP for glycosaminoglycans. Conclusions/Significance: Cofactor requirements for PrPres formation are host species and prion strain specific and affected by disease associated mutations of the prion protein. This may explain both species and strain dependent propagation characteristics and provide insights into the underlying mechanisms of familial prion disease. It further highlights the challenge of designing effective therapeutics against a disease which effects a range of mammalian species, caused by range of aetiologies and prion strains.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0012351
Official URL
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3207 Medical microbiology
Current > Division/Research > Chancellery
Keywords protease, prion protein, PrP, prion disease, misfolding
Citations in Scopus 22 - View on Scopus
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