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Ultraviolet-ozone treatment reduces levels of disease-associated prion protein and prion infectivity

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Background: Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are a group of fatal neurodegenerative diseases caused by novel infectious agents referred to as prions. Prions appear to be composed primarily, if not exclusively, of a misfolded isoform of the cellular prion protein. TSE infectivity is remarkably stable and can resist many aggressive decontamination procedures, increasing human, livestock and wildlife exposure to TSEs. Findings: We tested the hypothesis that UV-ozone treatment reduces levels of the pathogenic prion protein and inactivates the infectious agent. We found that UV-ozone treatment decreased the carbon and prion protein content in infected brain homogenate to levels undetectable by dryashing carbon analysis or immunoblotting, respectively. After 8 weeks of ashing, UV-ozone treatment reduced the infectious titer of treated material by a factor of at least 105. A small amount of infectivity, however, persisted despite UV-ozone treatment. When bound to either montmorillonite clay or quartz surfaces, PrPTSE was still susceptible to degradation by UV-ozone. Conclusion: Our findings strongly suggest that UV-ozone treatment can degrade pathogenic prion protein and inactivate prions, even when the agent is associated with surfaces. Using larger UVozone doses or combining UV-ozone treatment with other decontaminant methods may allow the sterilization of TSE-contaminated materials.

  • Date created
    2009
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3ST7F74C
  • License
    © 2009 Aiken et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • Johnson, C. J., Gilbert, P., McKenzie, D., Pedersen, J. A., & Aiken, J. M. (2009). Ultraviolet-ozone treatment reduces levels of disease-associated prion protein and prion infectivity. BMC research notes, 2, 121. BioMed Central. DOI: 10.1186/1756-0500-2-121