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Structural features distinguishing infectious ex vivo mammalian prions from non-infectious fibrillar assemblies generated in vitro

Terry, C; Harniman, RL; Sells, J; Wenborn, A; Joiner, S; Saibil, HR; Miles, MJ; ... Wadsworth, JDF; + view all (2019) Structural features distinguishing infectious ex vivo mammalian prions from non-infectious fibrillar assemblies generated in vitro. Scientific Reports , 9 , Article 376. 10.1038/s41598-018-36700-w. Green open access

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Abstract

Seeded polymerisation of proteins forming amyloid fibres and their spread in tissues has been implicated in the pathogenesis of multiple neurodegenerative diseases: so called "prion-like" mechanisms. While ex vivo mammalian prions, composed of multichain assemblies of misfolded host-encoded prion protein (PrP), act as lethal infectious agents, PrP amyloid fibrils produced in vitro generally do not. The high-resolution structure of authentic infectious prions and the structural basis of prion strain diversity remain unknown. Here we use cryo-electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy to examine the structure of highly infectious PrP rods isolated from mouse brain in comparison to non-infectious recombinant PrP fibrils generated in vitro. Non-infectious recombinant PrP fibrils are 10 nm wide single fibres, with a double helical repeating substructure displaying small variations in adhesive force interactions across their width. In contrast, infectious PrP rods are 20 nm wide and contain two fibres, each with a double helical repeating substructure, separated by a central gap of 8-10 nm in width. This gap contains an irregularly structured material whose adhesive force properties are strikingly different to that of the fibres, suggestive of a distinct composition. The structure of the infectious PrP rods, which cause lethal neurodegeneration, readily differentiates them from all other protein assemblies so far characterised in other neurodegenerative diseases.

Type: Article
Title: Structural features distinguishing infectious ex vivo mammalian prions from non-infectious fibrillar assemblies generated in vitro
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-36700-w
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-36700-w
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2019. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. Te images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Institute of Prion Diseases
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Institute of Prion Diseases > MRC Prion Unit at UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Structural and Molecular Biology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10067068
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