Synthetic fibril peptide promotes clearance of scrapie prion protein by lysosomal degradation


Ken'ichi Hagiwara, Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, 1-23-1 Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8640, Japan. Tel: +81 3 5285 1111; fax: +81 3 5285 1157; email:

* Present address
National Institute of Health Sciences, 1-18-1 Kamiyoga, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 158-8501, Japan.


Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies are infectious and neurodegenerative disorders that cause neural deposition of aggregates of the disease-associated form of PrPSc. PrPSc reproduces by recruiting and converting the cellular PrPC, and ScN2a cells support PrPSc propagation. We found that incubation of ScN2a cells with a fibril peptide named P9, which comprises an intrinsic sequence of residues 167–184 of mouse PrPC, significantly reduced the amount of PrPSc in 24 hr. P9 did not affect the rates of synthesis and degradation of PrPC. Interestingly, immunofluorescence analysis showed that the incubation of ScN2a cells with P9 induced colocalization of the accumulation of PrP with cathepsin D-positive compartments, whereas the accumulation of PrP in the cells without P9 colocalized mainly with lysosomal associated membrane proteins (LAMP)-1-positive compartments but rarely with cathepsin D-positive compartments in perinuclear regions. Lysosomal enzyme inhibitors attenuated the anti-PrPSc activity; however, a proteasome inhibitor did not impair P9 activity. In addition, P9 neither promoted the ubiquitination of cellular proteins nor caused the accumulation of LC3-II, a biochemical marker of autophagy. These results indicate that P9 promotes PrPSc redistribution from late endosomes to lysosomes, thereby attaining PrPSc degradation.