A microplate-based prion seeding assay is more sensitive and much faster than using animal models

Posted: 11 February 2013 | | No comments yet

Using a newly developed prion seeding assay researchers can now measure prion seeding…


Using a newly developed prion seeding assay called Real-Time Quaking Induced Conversion assay (RT-QuIC), researchers can now measure prion seeding at lower levels and in less than a few days in standard 96 well microplates. Previously used animal bioassays, while sensitive enough, are more expensive and can take years to complete. RT-QuIC is a sensitive, fast, and high throughput improvement on the previously employed methods of quaking-induced conversion (QuIC) (Atarashi 2008) and amyloid seeding assay (ASA) (Colby 2007).



Various infectious prion diseases, or Transmissable Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs), affect humans (like Creutzfeldt- Jakob disease (CJD)) and animals (like Scrapie in sheep or Chronic Wasting Disease in deer). In order to better understand the spread of these diseases, researchers needed a better and faster way to quantitate the infectivity or number of prions in the infected host.

In order for RT-QuIC to be effectively performed in a microplate reader, the assay needs to be incubated at 42°C for the entire measurement time from 20-60 hours, it needs to have alternating cycles of one minute of shaking at high speed (700 RPM) and one minute of resting, and it needs to take a measurement every 15 minutes. BMG LABTECH microplate readers allow for incubation from room temperature to 65°C. Shaking can be done at varying speeds up to 700 RPM and in three different patterns of orbital, linear, and a unique double orbital. Users can customize any type of measurement, so alternating a minute of shaking and a minute of resting with measurements at 15 minute intervals can be easily done. BMG LABTECH’s FLUOstar Omega and POLARstar Omega microplate readers have hardware and software that has been optimized for use with the RT-QuIC prion assay.

For more information about the assay please see the publication: Rapid End-Point Quantitation of Prion Seeding Activity with Sensitivity Comparable to Bioassays in PLoS Pathog 6(12): e1001217.

BMG LABTECH is a leading developer and global manufacturer of microplate reader instrumentation with a wide range of measurement methods. BMG LABTECH focuses solely on microplate readers and offers the most diverse selection of optical detection systems in conjunction with integrated liquid handling equipment. BMG LABTECH, the Microplate Reader Company, engineering brighter solutions.

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