Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker (GSS) disease is a dominantly inherited prion disease associated with point mutations in the Prion Protein gene. The most frequent mutation associated with GSS involves a proline-to-leucine substitution at residue 102 of the prion protein, and is characterized by marked variability at clinical, pathological and molecular levels. Previous investigations of GSS P102L have shown that disease-associated pathological prion protein, or PrP Sc, consists of two main conformers, which under exogenous proteolysis generates a core fragment of 21 kDa and an internal fragment of 8 kDa. Both conformers are detected in subjects with spongiform degeneration, whereas only the 8 kDa fragment is recovered in cases lacking spongiosis. Several studies have reported an exclusive derivation of protease-resistant PrP Sc isoforms from the mutated allele; however, more recently, the propagation of protease-resistant wild-type PrP Sc has been described. Here we analyze the molecular and pathological phenotype of six GSS P102L cases characterized by the presence of 21 and 8 kDa PrP fragments and two subjects with only the 8 kDa PrP fragment. Using sensitive protein separation techniques and Western blots with antibodies differentially recognizing wild-type and mutant PrP we observed a range of PrP Sc allelic conformers, either resistant or sensitive to protease treatment in all investigated subjects. Additionally, tissue deposition of protease-sensitive wild-type PrP Sc molecules was seen by conventional PrP immunohistochemistry and paraffin-embedded tissue blot. Our findings enlarge the spectrum of conformational allelic PrP Sc quasispecies propagating in GSS P102L thus providing a molecular support to the spectrum of disease phenotypes, and, in addition, impact the diagnostic role of PrP immunohistochemistry in prion diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)