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Zachary Nesbit

Zachary Nesbit

The University of Georgia
College of Veterinary Medicine
Class of 2019

Research Interests

Levels of SDC4 and an endogenous retroviral element in variably prion permissive sheep microglia

Zachary L. Nesbit, Valerie R. McElliott, James B. Stanton

Department of Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia

Prion disease results from the misfolding of normal, cellular prion protein (PrPC) into pathologic, protease-resistant prion protein (PrPRES). The first of these misfolded proteins to be identified was the scrapie prion protein (PrPSc). While some factors of permissibility and resistance have been identified, such as the amino acid sequence of the prion protein gene (PRNP), a growing body of evidence implicates other factors. For example, a transcriptomic analysis between a pair of prion permissive and non-permissive ovine microglial cells revealed that permissive cells have increased transcript levels of putative endogenous retroviral (ERV) elements and decreased transcript levels of extracellular matrical genes involved in fibronectin binding. For this study, the ERV Loc105604082 was selected along with syndecan-4 (SDC4), a binding partner of fibronectin that has not been fully analyzed in this system, for comparison beyond the original permissive/non-permissive pairing. The transcript levels for these two genes were assessed using reverse-transcriptase quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) with 5 ovine microglial clones of varying prion permissibility. The results validate the usefulness and efficiency of these primers in amplifying the target sequences.

Research Grant: Department of Veterinary Pathology and the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Student Support: NIH Office of Research Infrastructure Programs, Grant Number 2T35OD010433-11

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