Primary structural differences at residue 226 of deer and elk PrP dictate selection of distinct CWD prion strains in gene-targeted mice

Although the unifying hallmark of prion diseases is CNS neurodegeneration caused by conformational corruption of host prion protein (PrP) to its infective counterpart, contagious transmission of chronic wasting disease (CWD) results from shedding of prions produced at high titers in the periphery of diseased cervids. While deer and elk PrP primary structures are equivalent except at residue 226, which is glutamate in elk and glutamine in deer, the effect of this difference on CWD pathogenesis is largely unknown.

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