Serial transmission in rodents of neurodegeneration from transgenic mice expressing mutant prion protein

Karen K. Hsiao, Darlene Groth, Michael Scott, Shu Lian Yang, Hana Serban, Dennis Rapp, Dallas Foster, Marilyn Torchia, Stephen J. DeArmond, Stanley B. Prusiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

281 Scopus citations


Two lines of transgenic (Tg) mice expressing high (H) levels of the mutant P101L prion protein (PrP) developed a neurologic illness and central nervous system pathology indistinguishable from experimental murine scrapie; these mice were designated Tg(MoPrP-P101L)H. Brain homogenates from Tg(MoPrP- P101L)H mice were inoculated intracerebrally into CD-1 Swiss mice, Syrian hamsters, and Tg196 mire, Tg mice expressing the MoPrP-P101L transgene at low levels. None of the CD-1 mice developed central nervous system dysfunction, whereas ≃10% of hamsters and ≃40% of the Tgl96 mice manifested neurologic signs between 117 and 639 days after inoculation. Serial transmission of neurodegeneration in Tg196 mice and Syrian hamsters was initiated with brain extracts, producing incubation times of ≃4000 and ≃75 days, respectively. Although the Tg(MoPrP-P101L)H mice appear to accumulate only low levels of infectious prions in their brains, the serial transmission of disease to inoculated recipients argues that prion formation occurs de novo in the brains of these uninoculated animals. These Tg mouse studies, taken together with similar findings in humans dying of inherited prion diseases, provide additional evidence that prions lack a foreign nucleic acid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9126-9130
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number19
StatePublished - Sep 13 1994


  • Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker disease
  • de novo prion synthesis
  • inherited prion diseases
  • protein conformation
  • scrapie


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