Altered prion protein glycosylation in the aging mouse brain

J Neurochem. 2007 Feb;100(3):841-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2006.04268.x. Epub 2006 Nov 27.


The normal cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) is a glycoprotein with two highly conserved potential N-linked glycosylation sites. All prion diseases, whether inherited, infectious or sporadic, are believed to share the same pathogenic mechanism that is based on the conversion of the normal cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) to the pathogenic scrapie prion protein (PrP(Sc)). However, the clinical and histopathological presentations of prion diseases are heterogeneous, depending not only on the strains of PrP(Sc) but also on the mechanism of diseases, such as age-related sporadic vs. infectious prion diseases. Accumulated evidence suggests that N-linked glycans on PrP(C) are important in disease phenotype. A better understanding of the nature of the N-linked glycans on PrP(C) during the normal aging process may provide new insights into the roles that N-linked glycans play in the pathogenesis of prion diseases. By using a panel of 19 lectins in an antibody-lectin enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), we found that the lectin binding profiles of PrP(C) alter significantly during aging. There is an increasing prevalence of complex oligosaccharides on the aging PrP(C), which are features of PrP(Sc). Taken together, this study suggests a link between the glycosylation patterns on PrP(C) during aging and PrP(Sc).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Glycoproteins / biosynthesis*
  • Glycoproteins / chemistry
  • Glycosylation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nitrogen / chemistry
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism
  • PrPC Proteins / chemistry
  • PrPC Proteins / metabolism*
  • PrPSc Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • PrPSc Proteins / chemistry
  • Prion Diseases / metabolism
  • Prion Diseases / physiopathology


  • Glycoproteins
  • Polysaccharides
  • PrPC Proteins
  • PrPSc Proteins
  • Nitrogen