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Fate of prions in soil: Detergent extraction of PrP from soils

Cooke, C. M., Rodger, J., Smith, A., Fernie, K., Shaw, G. and Somerville, R. A. (2007) Fate of prions in soil: Detergent extraction of PrP from soils. Environmental Science & Technology, 41 (3). pp. 811-817. ISSN 0013-936X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1021/es0618189


The transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are caused by infectious agents whose structures have not been fully characterized but include abnormal forms of the host protein PrP, designated PrPSc, which are deposited in infected tissues. The transmission routes of scrapie and chronic wasting disease (CWD) seem to include environmental spread in their epidemiology, yet the fate of TSE agents in the environment is poorly understood. There are concerns that, for example, buried carcasses may remain a potential reservoir of infectivity for many years. Experimental determination of the environmental fate requires methods for assessing binding/elution of TSE infectivity, or its surrogate marker PrPSc, to and from materials with which it might interact. We report a method using Sarkosyl for the extraction of murine PrPSc, and its application to soils containing recombinant ovine PrP (recPrP). Elution properties suggest that PrP binds strongly to one or more soil components. Elution from a clay soil also required proteinase K digestion, suggesting that in the clay soil binding occurs via the N-terminal of PrP to a component that is absent from the sandy soils tested.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:3426
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