The work proposed here brings together top EU geo- and biochemists focusing on determining the environmental factors that affect the development of prion diseases such as scrapie, bovine spongiform encephalitis (BSE), chronic wasting disease (CWD) and Creutzfeld-Jacobs disease (CJD). First the geographical distribution of manganese and copper in soils will be investigated as risk factors. This will be undertaken due to the fact that prion diseases often are found in clusters and the fact that it now has been established that the normal metal for prion protein is copper but if that metal is replaced with manganese the structure of the prion protein is altered. The role of organophosphate pesticides will also be investigated because it has been suggested that copper is cornplexed with organophosphate, preventing copper absorption.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
SW7 2B London
BA2 7AY Bath