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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2015 Mar;72(6):1185-96. doi: 10.1007/s00018-014-1735-8. Epub 2014 Sep 18.

Prion strains are differentially released through the exosomal pathway.

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INRA, UMR 1225, IHAP, 31076, Toulouse, France.


Cell-to-cell transfer of prions is a crucial step in the spreading of prion infection through infected tissue. At the cellular level, several distinct pathways including direct cell-cell contacts and release of various types of infectious extracellular vesicles have been described that may potentially lead to infection of naïve cells. The relative contribution of these pathways and whether they may vary depending on the prion strain and/or on the infected cell type are not yet known. In this study we used a single cell type (RK13) infected with three different prion strains. We showed that in each case, most of the extracellular prions resulted from active cell secretion through the exosomal pathway. Further, quantitative analysis of secreted infectivity indicated that the proportion of prions eventually secreted was dramatically dependent on the prion strain. Our data also highlight that infectious exosomes secreted from cultured cells might represent a biologically pertinent material for spiking experiments. Also discussed is the appealing possibility that abnormal PrP from different prion strains may differentially interact with the cellular machinery to promote secretion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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