N-terminally tagged prion protein supports prion propagation in transgenic mice
Telling, G.C.; Tremblay, P.; Torchia, M.; Dearmond, S.J.; Cohen, F.E.; Prusiner, S.B.
Protein Science a Publication of the Protein Society 6(4): 825-833
The eight amino acid sequence, Asp-Tyr-Lys-Asp-Asp-Asp-Asp-Lys, representing the FLAG peptide, was inserted after codons 22 or 88 of the mouse (Mo) prion protein (PrP) gene. Inclusion of the FLAG sequence at these locations interfered neither with the cellular processing of PrPC nor its conversion into PrPSc. Inclusion of the FLAG epitope at residue 22 but not at residue 88 facilitated immunodetection of tagged PrP by anti-FLAG monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). Inoculation of transgenic (Tg) mice expressing N-terminally tagged MoPrP with Mo prions resulted in abbreviated incubation times, indicating that the FLAG sequence was not deleterious to prion propagation. Immunopurification of FLAG-tagged MoPrPC in the brains of Tg mice was achieved using the calcium-dependent anti-FLAG M1 mAb and non-denaturing procedures. Although the function of PrPC remains unknown, our studies demonstrate that some modifications of PrPC do not inhibit the one biological activity that can be measured, i.e., conversion into PrPSc. Tagged PrP molecules may prove useful in the development of improved assays for prions as well as structural studies of the PrP isoforms.