Lab study suggests mad cow disease can be transmitted by plants

A study appearing in the latest issue of Cell Reports suggests that grass plants can bind, uptake, and transport infectious prions. The researchers, from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, say that plants may play an important role in environmental prion contamination.

Prions are protein-based infectious agents responsible for a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, which includes bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) in cattle, scrapie in sheep, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans and chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer, elk and moose. All are fatal brain diseases with incubation periods that can last decades.

CWD, first diagnosed in mule deer in Colorado in the late 1960s, has spread across the country into 22 states, according to the CDC. In northeastern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming, the disease is endemic. The team, led by professor of neurology Claudio Soto (pictured), sought to find out why.

Soto’s team analyzed the retention of infectious prion protein and infectivity in wheat grass roots and leaves incubated with prion-contaminated brain material and discovered that even highly diluted amounts can bind to the roots and leaves.

When the wheat grass was consumed by hamsters, the animals were infected with the disease. The team also learned that infectious prion proteins could be detected in plants exposed to urine and feces from prion-infected hamsters and deer.

Researchers also found that plants can uptake prions from contaminated soil and transport them to different parts of the plant, which can act as a carrier of infectivity. This suggests that plants may play an important role in environmental prion contamination and the horizontal transmission of the disease.

The findings were made in a controlled setting, but Soto now plans to explore actual ecosystems. “This research was done in experimental conditions in the lab,” he said. “We’re moving the research into environmental contamination now.”

Related:
Discuss this article in our forum
Carriers of mad cow disease double previous estimate
Prehistoric Prion Disease Epidemics Widespread
Scientists create species-jumping hybrid prions

Source: University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

, , ,

Comments are closed.

Programmed Start Electronic Ballasts, 120-277 volts, 50/60hz, 2Lamp picture

Programmed Start Electronic Ballasts, 120-277 volts, 50/60hz, 2Lamp

$5.95



Advance Ballast 120-277V 50/60Hz Centium Instant Start Ballast ICN-4P32-SC NOS picture

Advance Ballast 120-277V 50/60Hz Centium Instant Start Ballast ICN-4P32-SC NOS

$16.95



Philips Advance 120-277V 50/60Hz Centium Programmed-Start Ballast ICN-2S54 NOS picture

Philips Advance 120-277V 50/60Hz Centium Programmed-Start Ballast ICN-2S54 NOS

$15.95



🌟Inter-Global IG13-20ELSX Rapid Start Electronic Florescent Ballast, 120v picture

🌟Inter-Global IG13-20ELSX Rapid Start Electronic Florescent Ballast, 120v

$13.77



Philips Advance Centium Electronic Ballast, PN ICN-2P32-N picture

Philips Advance Centium Electronic Ballast, PN ICN-2P32-N

$9.99



Sylvania 42938 - FS2/BL/2PK Ballast Starter picture

Sylvania 42938 - FS2/BL/2PK Ballast Starter

$8.89



Magnatek Universal BALLAST 546-B 120V 60 Hertz Made in USA 546-B-TC-P NEW picture

Magnatek Universal BALLAST 546-B 120V 60 Hertz Made in USA 546-B-TC-P NEW

$22.90



A Advance NEMA Premium Optanium IOP-4S32-SC Programmed Start Electronic Ballast picture

A Advance NEMA Premium Optanium IOP-4S32-SC Programmed Start Electronic Ballast

$20.00



Philips ADVANCE AmbiStar RELB-2S40-N Replacement Ballast 40-Watt 2-Lamp T12 Rapi picture

Philips ADVANCE AmbiStar RELB-2S40-N Replacement Ballast 40-Watt 2-Lamp T12 Rapi

$18.74



Philips Advance Optanium T8 Fluorescent Replacement Ballast IOPA4P32N IOPA-4P32- picture

Philips Advance Optanium T8 Fluorescent Replacement Ballast IOPA4P32N IOPA-4P32-

$15.95



Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes