The nature of the transmissible agent of spongiform encephalopathies is thought to be the pathological form of the prion protein that can change the cellular form to a pathological one, also if it is orally ingested. Fish farming is becoming a very important industry. All farmed fish receive commercial food containing 40-55% protein. Animal proteins may also be present and potential occurrence of the pathological protein cannot be excluded. Since studies on the infectivity transmission in fish are very scanty, two lines of research are proposed:
l) TSE pathogenesis concerning fish as targets and/or vectors for disease;
2) identification of PrP and PrP-like proteins in fish genome.
The second line of the research is sustained by the reason that PrP gene in fish is not yet identified and the infectivity is only possible if the cellular protein is present and can change itself onto the pathological form.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts