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J Biol Chem. 2013 Jul 26;288(30):21659-66. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.470328. Epub 2013 Jun 21.

Characterization of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease prions in prion protein-humanized mice carrying distinct codon 129 genotypes.

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Department of Neurological Science, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, 2-1, Seiryo-machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8575, Japan.


To date, all clinical variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) patients are homozygous for methionine at polymorphic codon 129 (129M/M) of the prion protein (PrP) gene. However, the appearance of asymptomatic secondary vCJD infection in individuals with a PRNP codon 129 genotype other than M/M and transmission studies using animal models have raised the concern that all humans might be susceptible to vCJD prions, especially via secondary infection. To reevaluate this possibility and to analyze in detail the transmission properties of vCJD prions to transgenic animals carrying distinct codon 129 genotype, we performed intracerebral inoculation of vCJD prions to humanized knock-in mice carrying all possible codon 129 genotypes (129M/M, 129M/V, or 129V/V). All humanized knock-in mouse lines were susceptible to vCJD infection, although the attack rate gradually decreased from 129M/M to 129M/V and to 129V/V. The amount of PrP deposition including florid/amyloid plaques in the brain also gradually decreased from 129M/M to 129M/V and to 129V/V. The biochemical properties of protease-resistant abnormal PrP in the brain and transmissibility of these humanized mouse-passaged vCJD prions upon subpassage into knock-in mice expressing bovine PrP were not affected by the codon 129 genotype. These results indicate that individuals with the 129V/V genotype may be more susceptible to secondary vCJD infection than expected and may lack the neuropathological characteristics observed in vCJD patients with the 129M/M genotype. Besides the molecular typing of protease-resistant PrP in the brain, transmission studies using knock-in mice carrying bovine PrP may aid the differential diagnosis of secondary vCJD infection, especially in individuals with the 129V/V genotype.


Amyloid; Codon 129 Genotype; Folicular Dendritic Cell; Knock-in Mouse; Microbiology; Neurobiology; Prions; Protein Misfolding; vCJD

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