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PLoS One 2019 Dec 12;14(12):e0225904

Quaking-induced conversion of prion protein on a thermal mixer accelerates detection in brains infected with transmissible spongiform encephalopathy agents.

Kaelber N, Bett C, Asher DM, Gregori L


Detection of misfolded prion protein, PrPTSE, in biological samples is important to develop antemortem tests for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). The real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) assay detects PrPTSE but requires dedicated equipment and relatively long incubation times when applied to samples containing extremely low levels of PrPTSE. It was shown that a microplate shaker with heated top (Thermomixer-C) accelerated amplification of PrPTSE in brain suspensions of 263K scrapie and sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD). We expanded the investigation to include TSE agents previously untested, including chronic wasting disease (CWD), macaque-adapted variant CJD (vCJD) and human vCJD, and we further characterized the assays conducted at 42 degrees C and 55 degrees C. PrPTSE from all brains containing the TSE agents were successfully amplified using a truncated hamster recombinant protein except for human vCJD which required truncated bank vole recombinant protein. We compared assays conducted at 42 degrees C on Thermomixer-C, Thermomixer-R (without heated top) and on a fluorimeter used for RT-QuIC. QuIC on Thermomixer-R achieved in only 18 hours assay sensitivity similar to that of RT-QuIC read at 60 hours (or 48 hours with sCJD). QuIC on Thermomixer-C required 24 hours to complete and the endpoint titers of some TSEs were 10-fold lower than those obtained with RT-QuIC and Thermomixer-R. Conversely, at 55 degrees C, the reactions with sCJD and CWD on Thermomixer-C achieved the same sensitivity as with RT-QuIC but in shorter times. Human vCJD samples tested at higher temperatures gave rise to high reactivity in wells containing normal control samples. Similarly, reactions on Thermomixer-R were unsuitable at 55 degrees C. The main disadvantage of Thermomixers is that they cannot track formation of PrP fibrils in real time, a feature useful in some applications. The main advantages of Thermomixers are that they need shorter reaction times to detect PrPTSE, are easier to use, involve more robust equipment, and are relatively affordable. Improvements to QuIC using thermal mixers may help develop accessible antemortem TSE tests.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #31830760 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0225904
PubMed Central ID: #PMC6908438
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Biologics
Entry Created: 2018-06-03 Entry Last Modified: 2020-06-14