Transmissible encephalopathy agents: Virulence, geography and clockwork

 Abstract

Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are caused by infectious agents with stable virulence characteristics that are not encoded by the host. Agent-specific features of virulence include variable disease latency and tissue pathology in a given host, as well as the ability to spread to many species. Such cross-species infections contradict predictions based on the prion hypothesis. Recent transmissions of several human agents to normal mice and to monotypic neural cells in culture, underscore the existence of unique agent clades that are prevalent in particular geographic regions. Examples include the epidemic UK bovine agent (BSE) and the New Guinea kuru agent. The virus-like biology of unique TSE agents, including epidemic spread, mutation, and superinfection, can be used to systematically define features of virulence that distinguish common endemic from newly emerging strains.

Full Text Options
Article
Metrics
 Share
 Full Text
 Info
Pages
101 - 104
doi
10.4161/viru.1.2.10822
Type
Article Addendum
 Metrics
 Cite This Article
 Permissions
 Permissions
 Reprints
Transmissible encephalopathy agents: Virulence, geography and clockwork