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Prion. 2012 Nov-Dec;6(5):420-4. doi: 10.4161/pri.21867. Epub 2012 Aug 28.

Shadoo/PrP (Sprn(0/0) /Prnp(0/0) ) double knockout mice: more than zeroes.

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Centre for Prions and Protein Folding Diseases, University of Alberta Edmonton, AB, Canada.


Shadoo (Sho) is a brain glycoprotein with similarities to the unstructured region of PrP (C) . Frameshift alleles of the Sho gene, Sprn, are reported in variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) patients while Sprn mRNA knockdown in PrP-null (Prnp(0/0) ) embryos produces lethality, advancing Sho as the hypothetical PrP-like "pi" protein. Also, Sho levels are reduced as misfolded PrP accumulates during prion infections. To penetrate these issues we created Sprn null alleles (Daude et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci USA 2012; 109(23): 9035-40). Results from the challenge of Sprn null and TgSprn transgenic mice with rodent-adapted prions coalesce to define downregulation of Sho as a "tracer" for the formation of misfolded PrP. However, classical BSE and rodent-adapted BSE isolates may behave differently, as they do for other facets of the pathogenic process, and this intriguing variation warrants closer scrutiny. With regards to physiological function, double knockout mice (Sprn(0/0) /Prnp(0/0) ) mice survived to over 600 d of age. This suggests that Sho is not pi, or, given the accumulating data for many activities for PrP (C) , that the pi hypothesis invoking a discrete signaling pathway to maintain neuronal viability is no longer tenable.

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