Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tracking down BSE and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Date:
June 30, 2011
Source:
German Primate Center
Summary:
Researchers have identified an altered expression of endogenous retroviruses in BSE-infected macaques.

Researchers have identified an altered expression of endogenous retroviruses in BSE-infected macaques. Prion diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle are transmissible neurodegenerative diseases linked to the aggregation of the prion protein in the central nervous system. It is known that the aggregation of prion proteins promotes neuronal decay with fatal consequences for the infected individual. However, there is only a limited understanding of how neurons are lost and which molecules are involved.

Related Articles


Researchers at the Leibniz Institutes for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Berlin) and for Primate Research (Gφttingen) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz Center Munich have now found that the expression of so-called endogenous retroviruses is altered upon BSE-infection. Their study, for which they used BSE infected non-human primates, could guide new treatment strategies for human Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Endogenous retroviruses are viruses that after infection have been incorporated into the germline DNA (in eggs or sperm) of an organism. In this state, they are transmitted from one generation to the next. These retroviral elements, which can represent up to ten per cent of the genome, were often regarded as dead freight that has been accumulated over millions of years. However, recent work indicated that endogenous retroviruses can be re-activated under certain circumstances.

Now researchers from two cooperating Leibniz Institutes and the Helmholtz Center Munich investigated the expression of endogenous retroviruses in BSE-infected long-tailed macaques as a model for human Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. When brain samples from diseased macaques, i.e. macaques that are infected with prions, were compared to healthy controls, they found that endogenous retroviruses belonging to the class of gamma retroviruses were more highly expressed. Previous research showed that exogenous gamma retroviruses can induce fatal spongiform encephalopathies without prion aggregates being present in mice, perhaps a similar effect to that observed in the macaques. "Therefore, we speculate that the observed up-regulation of the endogenous gamma retroviruses may induce or exacerbate the pathological consequences of BSE-associated neurodegeneration," says Alex Greenwood, a lead author of the study.

Furthermore, the research group observed a decreased expression of a class 2 endogenous retrovirus in the brain of BSE-infected macaques. Previous findings have shown that these viral particles can be produced and released by living cells. "Here, for the first time we see evidence of an expressed retroviral capsid protein that is encoded by an endogenous retrovirus in a non-human primate brain," says Dirk Motzkus, corresponding author of the study. The scientists also showed that the retrovirus is down-regulated upon BSE-infection.

"As retroviral infections can be treatable, this may suggest completely new future treatment strategies for Creutzfeldt-Jakob patients," says Dirk Motzkus.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by German Primate Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Alex D Greenwood, Michelle Vincendeau, Ann-Christin Schmadicke, Judith Montag, Wolfgang Seifarth, Dirk Motzkus. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy infection alters endogenous retrovirus expression in distinct brain regions of cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis). Molecular Neurodegeneration, 2011; 6 (1): 44 DOI: 10.1186/1750-1326-6-44

Cite This Page:

German Primate Center. "Tracking down BSE and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110630091701.htm>.
German Primate Center. (2011, June 30). Tracking down BSE and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110630091701.htm
German Primate Center. "Tracking down BSE and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110630091701.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) — The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) — As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) — Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) — Urbanspoon predicts whicg food trends will dominate the culinary scene in 2015. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins