Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Discovery may explain how prion diseases spread between different types of animals

Date:
March 11, 2013
Source:
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
Summary:
Medical researchers have made a discovery that may explain how prion diseases, like chronic wasting disease and mad cow disease, adapt in order to spread between various types of animals.

Medical researchers at the University of Alberta have made a discovery that may explain how prion diseases, like chronic wasting disease and mad cow disease, adapt in order to spread between various types of animals.

The research team, led by neurologist Valerie Sim, discovered that a miniscule change in the prions' makeup appears to give the disease the ability to adapt -- to mimic and recreate new strains with which it comes into contact. The team has been studying this area for two years.

"Prion diseases don't always successfully go from one animal to another, but when they do, the process is called adaptation. And we want to figure out what triggers that process to happen, what changes happen within prions to allow the disease to spread," says Sim, a researcher with the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, whose discovery was recently published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Biological Chemistry.

"One of the important things researchers in this field have realized is that if you pass certain strains of prion disease through a number of different hosts, the disease can adapt along the way and increase the number of susceptible hosts. That's the big concern right now.

"We want to determine why one prion disease might be able to spread from one type of animal to another and why another strain of the disease can't."

For instance, if a deer with chronic wasting disease is scavenged by another animal, could the prion disease cross into that intermediate host, evolve and then infect animals or species typically not at direct risk for the disease.

"We hope to understand how these bigger issues develop," says Sim. "We need to pay attention to chronic wasting disease in particular because it has the ability to spread in a different way than mad cow disease. Chronic wasting disease prions can be deposited into the soil and stay there for years, and could be eaten by another animal. How does it evolve from there then?"

Sim and her team are continuing their research in this area and are seeing impressive results in the lab -- reconfirming their findings through the testing of additional models.

Sim works in the Department of Medicine in the Division of Neurology. She is cross-appointed to the Centre for Neuroscience and the Centre for Prions and Protein Folding Diseases.

Her team's research was funded by Alberta Innovates -- Health Solutions (AIHS), PrioNet Canada and the Alberta Prion Research Institute.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. L. M. Cortez, J. Kumar, L. Renault, H. S. Young, V. L. Sim. Mouse Prion Protein Polymorphism Phe-108/Val-189 Affects the Kinetics of Fibril Formation and the Response to Seeding: EVIDENCE FOR A TWO-STEP NUCLEATION POLYMERIZATION MECHANISM. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2013; 288 (7): 4772 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M112.414581

Cite This Page:

University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. "Discovery may explain how prion diseases spread between different types of animals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130311124205.htm>.
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. (2013, March 11). Discovery may explain how prion diseases spread between different types of animals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130311124205.htm
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. "Discovery may explain how prion diseases spread between different types of animals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130311124205.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Researchers claim they’ve diagnosed the first example of the disorder in a 31-year-old U.S. Navy serviceman. Video provided by Newsy
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


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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