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Houston F.,Roslin Institute | Goldmann W.,Roslin Institute | Foster J.,Roslin Institute | Gonzalez L.,Animal and Plant Health Agency APHA Lasswade | And 2 more authors.

Sheep are natural hosts of the prion disease, scrapie. They are also susceptible to experimental challenge with various scrapie strains and with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), which affects cattle and has been accidentally transmitted to a range of other species, including man. Incidence and incubation period of clinical disease in sheep following inoculation is controlled by the PRNP gene, which has different alleles defined on the basis of polymorphisms, particularly at codons 136, 154 and 171, although other codons are associated with survival time, and the exact responses of the sheep may be influenced by other breed-related differences. Here we report the results of a long term single study of experimental scrapie and BSE susceptibility of sheep of Cheviot, Poll Dorset and Suffolk breeds, originating from New Zealand and of a wide range of susceptible and resistant PRNP genotypes. Responses were compared with those of sheep from a closed Cheviot flock of UK origin (Roslin Cheviot flock). The unusually long observation period (6-8 years for most, but up to 12 years for others) allows us to draw robust conclusions about rates of survival of animals previously regarded as resistant to infection, particularly PRNP heterozygotes, and is the most comprehensive such study reported to date. BSE inoculation by an intracerebral route produced disease in all genotype groups with differing incubation periods, although M112T and L141F polymorphisms seemed to give some protection. Scrapie isolate SSBP/1, which has the shortest incubation period in sheep with at least one VRQ PRNP allele, also produced disease following sub-cutaneous inoculation in ARQ/ARQ animals of New Zealand origin, but ARQ/ARQ sheep from the Roslin flock survived the challenge. Our results demonstrate that the links between PRNP genotype and clinical prion disease in sheep are much less secure than previously thought, and may break down when, for example, a different breed of sheep is moved into a new flock. © 2015 Houston et al.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Source

Chianini F.,Moredun Research Institute | Cosseddu G.M.,Istituto Superiore di Sanita | Steele P.,Moredun Research Institute | Hamilton S.,Moredun Research Institute | And 14 more authors.

The transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases are a group of fatal neurodegenerative disorders characterised by the accumulation of a pathological form of a host protein known as prion protein (PrP). The validation of abnormal PrP detection techniques is fundamental to allow the use of high-throughput laboratory based tests, avoiding the limitations of bioassays.We used scrapie, a prototype TSE, to examine the relationship between infectivity and laboratory based diagnostic tools. The data may help to optimise strategies to prevent exposure of humans to small ruminant TSE material via the food chain. Abnormal PrP distribution/accumulation was assessed by immunohistochemistry (IHC), Western blot (WB) and ELISA in samples from four animals. In addition, infectivity was detected using a sensitive bank vole bioassay with selected samples from two of the four sheep and protein misfolding cyclic amplification using bank vole brain as substrate (vPMCA) was also carried out in selected samples from one animal. Lymph nodes, oculomotor muscles, sciatic nerve and kidney were positive by IHC, WB and ELISA, although at levels 100-1000 fold lower than the brain, and contained detectable infectivity by bioassay. Tissues not infectious by bioassay were also negative by all laboratory tests including PMCA. Although discrepancies were observed in tissues with very low levels of abnormal PrP, there was an overall good correlation between IHC, WB, ELISA and bioassay results. Most importantly, there was a good correlation between the detection of abnormal PrP in tissues using laboratory tests and the levels of infectivity even when the titre was low. These findings provide useful information for risk modellers and represent a first step toward the validation of laboratory tests used to quantify prion infectivity, which would greatly aid TSE risk assessment policies. © 2015 Chianini et al. Source

Gonzalez L.,Animal and Plant Health Agency APHA Lasswade | Chianini F.,Moredun Research Institute | Hunter N.,Roslin Institute | Hamilton S.,Moredun Research Institute | And 10 more authors.
Journal of General Virology

Breed- and prion protein (PRNP) genotype-related disease phenotype variability has been observed in sheep infected with the 87V murine scrapie strain. Therefore, the stability of this strain was tested by inoculating sheep-derived 87V brain material back into VM mice. As some sheep-adapted 87V disease phenotypes were reminiscent of CH1641 scrapie, transgenic mice (Tg338) expressing ovine prion protein (PrP) were inoculated with the same sheep-derived 87V sources and with CH1641. Although at first passage in VM mice the sheep-derived 87V sources showed some divergence from the murine 87V control, all the characteristics of murine 87V infection were recovered at second passage from all sheep sources. These included 100% attack rates and indistinguishable survival times, lesion profiles, immunohistochemical features of disease-associated PrP accumulation in the brain and PrP biochemical properties. All sheep- derived 87V sources, as well as CH1641, were transmitted to Tg338 mice with identical clinical, pathological, immunohistochemical and biochemical features. While this might potentially indicate that sheep-adapted 87V and CH1641 are the same strain, profound divergences were evident, as murine 87V was unable to infect Tg338 mice but was lethal for VM mice, while the reverse was true for CH1641. These combined data suggest that: (i) murine 87V is stable and retains its properties after passage in sheep; (ii) it can be isolated from sheep showing a CH1641-like or a more conventional scrapie phenotype; and (iii) sheep-adapted 87V scrapie, with conventional or CH1641-like phenotype, is biologically distinct from experimental CH1641 scrapie, despite the fact that they behave identically in a single transgenic mouse line. © Crown copyright 2015. Source

McGovern G.,Animal and Plant Health Agency APHA Lasswade | Martin S.,Animal and Plant Health Agency APHA Lasswade | Jeffrey M.,Animal and Plant Health Agency APHA Lasswade | Dexter G.,APHA Weybridge | And 5 more authors.

The minimum dose required to cause infection of Romney and Suffolk sheep of the ARQ/ARQ or ARQ/ARR prion protein gene genotypes following oral inoculation with Romney or Suffolk a sheep Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)-derived or cattle BSE-derived agent was investigated using doses ranging from 0.0005g to 5g. ARQ/ARQ sheep which were methionine (M)/threonine (T) heterozygous or T/T homozygous at codon 112 of the Prnp gene, dosed ARQ/ARR sheep and undosed controls did not show any evidence of infection. Within groups of susceptible sheep, the minimum effective oral dose of BSE was found to be 0.05g, with higher attack rates following inoculation with the 5g dose. Surprisingly, this study found no effect of dose on survival time suggesting a possible lack of homogeneity within the inoculum. All clinical BSE cases showed PrPd accumulation in brain; however, following cattle BSE inoculation, LRS involvement within Romney recipients was found to be significantly lower than within the Suffolk sheep inoculated group which is in agreement with previous reports. © 2016 McGovern et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Source

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