The use of proteomics for surrogate markers of prion infection

Period of Performance: 01/04/2006 - 01/04/2006


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Rural Technologies, Inc.
1008 32nd Ave
Brookings, SD 57006
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


Prion diseases are unique, in that their exceptionally long incubation period makes it difficult to diagnose prior to end-stage disease. While many diagnostic assays for infectious diseases rely upon detection of specific immunity, prion diseases apparently provoke no detectable immune response. Alternative tests must therefore be developed based upon concomitant changes in gene expression associated with disease progression. While a majority of pathogolical symptoms arise in the CNS, peripheral lymphoid tissues are an alternate site of prion proliferation. These peripehral lymphoid organs would be preferable sites for the analysis of protein expression differences associated with prion disease. The Canadian National Microbiology Laboratories have recently invested in a proteomics facility for the express purpose of analyzing transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. We have partnered with this facility, due to it's unique expertise and proximity to our facility in Brookings, South Dakota. Furthermore, we have arranged to acquire pathological blood and lymph samples from scrapie-infected sheep currently housed at South Dakota State University. Our researchers will then collect and analyze data obtained from these partnerships in order to target specific changes in protein expression associated with prion diseases.