Investigation on the uptake of functional proteins and infectious prions into wheat plants through the root system

  • Author / Creator
    Rasmussen, Jay D
  • Prions are the proteinaceous particle responsible for infections in a class of neurodegenerative diseases. These diseases affect a number of mammals including cervids where it is termed Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Prions enter the environment and persist for years. Plants have the ability to take up large organic molecules like proteins and bacteria as a potential nitrogen source. This project used wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) to determine the reason for protein uptake in plants and if prions are also taken up by plants. We found that bovine serum albumin was not a suitable nitrogen source for plants but uptake of ovalbumin into the stem was possible when minor root damage was present. Conversely, CWD prions bound to the outside of wheat roots and were not taken up into the stem. This work suggests that plants do not act as a vector in the transmission of prion diseases such as CWD.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2014
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.