The cellular prion protein (PrPC) from different species can be reproducibly expressed in Xenopus oocytes following injection of in vitro transcribed mRNAs. The level of PrPC accumulation increases with the amount of RNA injected and with the duration of incubation. PrPC expressed in oocytes is similar in size and abundance to PrPC protein in mouse brain and >100 ng of PrPC is expressed per oocyte allowing complete experiments to be carried out in single living cells. The protein is glycosylated, fully protease sensitive and expressed on the cell surface. Xenopus oocytes therefore provide a useful model system for the study of prion proteins and their associated disease processes.
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Strathclyde, SIBS, 27, Taylor Street, Glasgow G4 0NR, UK
1Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, Department of Neurology and Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40536, USA
2Institute for Animal Health, Neuropathogenesis Unit, Edinburgh, UK
3National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit and Department of Pathology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
Received 7 February 2002 accepted 13 February 2002