Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker Disease with F198S Mutation Induces Independent Tau and Prion Protein Pathologies in Bank Voles




21 October, 2022


Rosalia Bruno, Laura Pirisinu, Geraldina Riccardi, Claudia D'Agostino, Elena De Cecco, Giuseppe Legname, Franco Cardone, Pierluigi Gambetti, Romolo Nonno, Umberto Agrimi, Michele Angelo Di Bari

Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker disease (GSS) is a rare genetic prion disease. A large GSS kindred linked to the serine-for-phenylalanine substitution at codon 198 of the prion protein gene (GSS-F198S) is characterized by conspicuous accumulation of prion protein (PrP)-amyloid deposits and neurofibrillary tangles. Recently, we demonstrated the transmissibility of GSS-F198S prions to bank vole carrying isoleucine at 109 PrP codon (BvI). Here we investigated: (i) the transmissibility of GSS-F198S prions to voles carrying methionine at codon 109 (BvM); (ii) the induction of hyperphosphorylated Tau (pTau) in two vole lines, and (iii) compared the phenotype of GSS-F198S-induced pTau with pTau induced in BvM following intracerebral inoculation of a familial Alzheimer's disease case carrying Presenilin 1 mutation (fAD-PS1). We did not detect prion transmission to BvM, despite the high susceptibility of BvI previously observed. Immunohistochemistry established the presence of induced pTau depositions in vole brains that were not affected by prions. Furthermore, the phenotype of pTau deposits in vole brains was similar in GSS-F198S and fAD-PS1. Overall, results suggest that, regardless of the cause of pTau deposition and its relationship with PrPSc in GSS-F198S human-affected brains, the two components possess their own seeding properties, and that pTau deposition is similarly induced by GSS-F198S and fAD-PS1.