Considerable efforts have been directed toward the identification of small-ruminant prion diseases, i.e., classical and atypical scrapie as well as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Here we report the in-depth molecular analysis of the proteinase K-resistant prion protein core fragment (PrPres) in a highly scrapie-affected goat flock in Greece. The PrPres profile by Western immunoblotting in most animals was that of classical scrapie in sheep. However, in a series of clinically healthy goats we identified a unique C- and N-terminally truncated PrPres fragment, which is akin but not identical to that observed for atypical scrapie. These findings reveal novel aspects of the nature and diversity of the molecular PrPres phenotypes in goats and suggest that these animals display a previously unrecognized prion protein disorder
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