Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry

, Volume 428, Issue 1–2, pp 57–66 | Cite as

Effect of poly-L-arginine in inhibiting scrapie prion protein of cultured cells

  • Muhammad Waqas
  • Hye-Mi Lee
  • Jeeyoung Kim
  • Glenn Telling
  • Jin-Ki Kim
  • Dae-Hwan Kim
  • Chongsuk RyouEmail author


Biological effect of poly-L-arginine (PLR), the linear homopolymer comprised of L-arginine, was investigated to determine the activity of suppressing prions. PLR decreased the level of scrapie prion protein (PrPSc) in cultured cells permanently infected with prions in a concentration-dependent manner. The PrPSc inhibition efficacy of PLR was greater than that of another prion-suppressant poly-L-lysine (PLK) in a molecular mass-dependent fashion. The effective concentration of PLR to inhibit prions was achieved safely below the cytotoxic concentrations, and overall cytotoxicity of PLR was similar to that of PLK. PLR did not alter the cellular prion protein (PrPC) level and was unable to change the states of preformed recombinant PrP aggregates and PrPSc from prion-infected cells. These data eliminate the possibility that the action mechanism of PLR is through removal of PrPC and pre-existing PrPSc. However, PLR formed complexes with plasminogen that stimulates prion propagation via conversion of PrPC to the misfolded isoform, PrPSc. The plasminogen–PLR complex demonstrated the greater positive surface charge values than the similar complex with PLK, raising the possibility that PLR interferes with the role of cofactor for PrPSc generation better than PLK.


Poly-L-arginine Prion PrPC PrPSc Inhibition 



This research was supported by the grants of the Korea Health Technology R&D Project through the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI) funded by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea (HI16C1085, HI16C0965) and the National Research Foundation of Korea (2012R1A1A2043356).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 468 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muhammad Waqas
    • 1
  • Hye-Mi Lee
    • 1
  • Jeeyoung Kim
    • 1
  • Glenn Telling
    • 2
  • Jin-Ki Kim
    • 1
  • Dae-Hwan Kim
    • 1
  • Chongsuk Ryou
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacy and Institute of Pharmaceutical Science and TechnologyHanyang UniversityAnsanRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology, Immunology and PathologyColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

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