Scrapie-associated fibrils (SAF) were isolated and purified from animals infected with three different scrapie agents: ME7 and 139A in mice, and 263K in hamsters. Mouse ME7 and 139A SAF differed from hamster 263K SAF in morphology, sedimentation rate and protein composition. SAF from the three scrapie agents were distinguishable from each other by their sensitivity to proteinase K digestion. SAF copurified with infectivity in both the hamster and mouse systems. SAF appear to be a unique class of structures which are related but specific for each individual scrapie agent. These properties may correlate with the biological and pathological differences seen among these agents.


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