Rescue of Neurophysiological Phenotype Seen in PrP Null Mice by Transgene Encoding Human Prion Protein

Nat Genet. 1995 Feb;9(2):197-201. doi: 10.1038/ng0295-197.


The prion protein (PrP) is central to the aetiology of the prion diseases, transmissible neurodegenerative conditions of humans and animals. PrP null mice show abnormalities of synaptic neurophysiology, in particular weakened GABAA receptor-mediated fast inhibition and impaired long-term potentiation in the hippocampus. Here we demonstrate that this PrP null phenotype is rescued in mice with a high copy number of a transgene encoding human PrP but not in low copy number mice, confirming the specificity of the phenotype for loss of function of PrP. The ability of human PrP to compensate for loss of murine PrP will allow direct study of the functional consequences of the 18 human PrP mutations, which cause the inherited prion diseases; this phenotype can now form the basis of the first functional assay for PrP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Mice, Transgenic / genetics*
  • Mice, Transgenic / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neurophysiology
  • Phenotype
  • Prion Diseases / genetics
  • Prions / genetics*


  • Prions