Gene expression can predict BSE infectio status
A new study suggests that gene expression profiling may allow researchers to track the progression of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle and ultimately predict their infectious status.
The researchers from the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Woodham Lane, New Haw, Surrey, United Kingdom and Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany detail their findings in the September 2009 issue of the Journal of Virology.
Current research suggests that an abnormality of the cellular prion protein is essential to the infectivity of prion disease, indicating a correlation between BSE pathogenesis and gene expression.
In the UK study, brain tissue samples were collected from cattle orally infected with BSE at varying time points following post-infection and monitored for changes in gene expression. Researchers found that 114 genes were differentially regulated over the course of infection, many of which encode proteins involved in functions such as immune response, stress response and cell adhesion. The largest number of differentially regulated genes was detected at 21 months post-infection indicating many pathogenic processes in the animal brain prior to detection of BSE in the central nervous system.
"Gene expression profiling in the BSE time course study revealed a broad correlation between the expression of genes and the progression of BSE," say the researchers. "Evidence is presented to suggest that it is possible to predict the infectious status of animals using the expression profiles from this study."
This research has been published in the Journal of Virology.
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