Publishing their findings in BioMed Central’s open access journal Proteome Science, the scientists hope that their discovery might lead to the development of a urine-based test that could prevent the precautionary slaughter of many animals as now occurs when the disease is detected.
The discovery of a new human variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), thought to be transmitted to humans via BSE-infected products, has resulted in many countries instituting extensive BSE testing programs for older animals. Diagnostic testing currently involves the detection of a misfolded “infectious” protein, or prion, in post-mortem brain tissue.
BSE has caused significant changes in the way beef products are produced and traded. If a simple and accurate urine test can be developed from this new knowledge, it could be performed on live animals and therefore may provide an alternative to current BSE surveillance procedures. It could also allow for the assessment of the health of breeding stock where post-mortem testing is not an option.
“We are hopeful that the knowledge that we’ve gained from this study will eventually lead to a live test,” says Dr. David Knox, a researcher at the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. “It may be possible to develop similar tests for other species as well, including humans with Creutzfeldt Jakob disease (CJD). A urine test for CJD could assist doctors to narrow down potential diagnoses for people with dementia”.
Knox led a team of researchers who have demonstrated that the “protein profile” of cattle urine samples can indicate the presence of a BSE infection as well as how far the disease has advanced. The scientists analysed the proteins in urine samples taken from four infected and four healthy cows of the same age over the course of the disease. The proteins from the healthy and infected samples were compared using a technique called two-dimensional differential-gel electrophoresis (2-D DIGETM)
In these preliminary results a single protein was able to distinguish between those infected and control animals. In addition, the relative abundance of a set of proteins could accurately determine how far the disease had advanced.
“Our work shows that it is possible to identify biomarkers in urine that could be useful in the diagnosis and monitoring of disease progression in BSE and related transmissible spongiform encephalopathies,” says Knox.
Charlotte Webber | alfa
Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden
The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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