Microplate Based Assays for the Study of Neurodegenerative Diseases

September 01, 2017

Neurodegenerative disease is a general term that encompasses any disease that is characterized degeneration of nerve cells leading to cognitive decline and problems with movement. Scientist studying prion diseases used our Omega microplate reader to develop an assay to detect prion infectivity of samples.

Dr Carl Peters | BMG LABTECH
Dr Carl Peters
PhD, Senior Applications Scientist
BMG LABTECH USA

Neurodegenerative disease is a general term that encompasses any disease that is characterized degeneration of nerve cells leading to cognitive decline and problems with movement. Since nerve cells don’t normally regenerate these diseases are progressive and cannot be cured. Many neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and prion diseases are characterized by a buildup of protein plaques that cut off nerve cell communication and are likely involved in the eventual death of these cells.

 

Thioflavin T (ThT) has long been the choice among scientist studying Alzheimer’s to detect amyloid fibrils that form the plaques in this disease. ThT exhibits a large enhancement in fluorescence emission upon binding to fibrils and has subsequently been found to be suitable for binding and thus detecting numerous other protein oligomers that form in a similar fashion.

Scientist studying prion diseases used our Omega microplate reader to develop an assay to detect prion infectivity of samples. The assay employs defined cycles of high intensity shaking and detects an increase in ThT as prion protein is converted to an infective form and oligomerization occurrs. The Omega platform proved to have the robust components needed to withstand the particular strains that this assay puts on the instrument. The assay, now known as RT-QuIC (real time quaking induced conversion) has been applied similarly to beta-amyloid for Alzheimer’s and alpha-synuclein for Parkinson’s.

In response to RT-QuIC user needs we have made minor modifications to the Omega designed to ehance performance of this assay. These alteration are designed assure that reader / computer communication is maintained, prevent possible plate movement during shaking, improve ease of assay setup and improve shaking mechanism lifespan. Similar modifications are also available on the CLARIOstar®. So whether your lab needs dedicated instrumentation for RT-QuIC or have additional detection needs BMG has options that you can depend on.

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