Role of prion replication in the strain-dependent brain regional distribution of prions

Ping Ping Hu, Rodrigo Morales, Claudia Duran-Aniotz, Ines Moreno-Gonzalez, Uffaf Khan, Claudio Soto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


One intriguing feature of prion diseases is their strain variation. Prion strains are differentiated by the clinical consequences they generate in the host, their biochemical properties, and their potential to infect other animal species. The selective targeting of these agents to specific brain structures have been extensively used to characterize prion strains. However, the molecular basis dictating strain-specific neurotropism are still elusive. In this study, isolated brain structures from animals infected with four hamster prion strains (HY, DY, 139H, and SSLOW) were analyzed for their content of protease-resistant PrPSc. Our data show that these strains have different profiles of PrP deposition along the brain. These patterns of accumulation, which were independent of regional PrPC production, were not reproduced by in vitro replication when different brain regions were used as substrate for the misfolding-amplification reaction. On the contrary, our results show that in vitro replication efficiency depended exclusively on the amount of PrPC present in each part of the brain. Our results suggest that the variable regional distribution of PrPSc in distinct strains is not determined by differences on prion formation, but on other factors or cellular pathways. Our findings may contribute to understand the molecular mechanisms of prion pathogenesis and strain diversity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12880-12887
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number24
StatePublished - 10 Jun 2016


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