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Skinner_PJ

Research Abstracts Online
January 2009 - March 2010

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
College of Veterinary Medicine
Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences

PI: Pamela J. Skinner

Prion-disease-induced Altered Gene Expression in Spleen and Brain Prior to Clinical Symptoms

Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative disorders that affect animals and humans. There is a need to gain understanding of prion disease pathogenesis and to develop diagnostic assays to detect prion diseases prior to the onset of clinical symptoms. The goal of this study is to identify genes that show altered expression early in the disease process in the spleen and brain of prion disease-infected mice. Using Affymetrix microarrays, these researchers have identified 67 genes that showed increased expression in the brains of prion disease-infected mice prior to the onset of clinical symptoms. These genes function in many cellular processes including immunity, the endosome/lysosome system, hormone activity, and the cytoskeleton. The researchers confirmed a subset of these gene expression alterations using other methods and determined the time course in which these changes occur. They also identified 14 genes showing altered expression prior to the onset of clinical symptoms in spleens of prion disease infected mice. Interestingly, four genes, Atp1b1, Gh, Anp32a, and Grn, were altered at the very early time of 46 days post-infection. These gene expression alterations provide insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying prion disease pathogenesis and may serve as surrogate markers for the early detection and diagnosis of prion disease.

Group Members

J.J. Hong, Graduate Student
Hyeon Kim, Staff
Nikki Kinzel, Staff
Jake Kurth, Undergraduate Student
Barb Pinch, Staff