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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Scrapie strains maintain biological phenotypes on propagation in a cell line in culture.

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and its human equivalent, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), are caused by the same strain of infectious agent, which is similar to, but distinct from, >20 strains of their sheep scrapie homologue. A better understanding of the molecular strain determinants could be obtained from cells in monoculture than from whole animal studies where different cell targeting is commonly a strain-related feature. Although a few cell types can be infected with different strains, the phenotypes of the emergent strains have not been studied. We have cured the scrapie-infected, clonal SMB cell line with pentosan sulfate, stably re-infected it with a different strain of scrapie and shown that biological properties and prion protein profiles characteristic of each original strain are propagated faithfully in this single non-neuronal cell type. These findings attest to the fact that scrapie strain determinants are stable and host-independent in isolated cells.[1]


  1. Scrapie strains maintain biological phenotypes on propagation in a cell line in culture. Birkett, C.R., Hennion, R.M., Bembridge, D.A., Clarke, M.C., Chree, A., Bruce, M.E., Bostock, C.J. EMBO J. (2001) [Pubmed]
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