The replication mechanism of kinetoplast DNA networks in several trypanosomatid species

D. Lys Guilbride, Paul T. Englund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Kinetoplast DNA, a giant network of interlocked DNA circles, replicates by an unusual mechanism. Minicircles are released individually from the network by a topoisomerase II, and then, after replication, their progeny are reattached at antipodal positions on the network periphery. Studies to date have revealed two distinct variations on this model. In Crithidia fasciculata the newly replicated minicircles quickly become uniformly distributed around the network periphery, whereas in Trypanosoma brucei the minicircles accumulate near their two points of attachment. The kinetoplast DNA replication mechanism used by other related trypanosomatid species was until now unknown. Here we used a novel method, involving fluorescence microscopy of isolated networks, to investigate kinetoplast DNA replication in Leishmania tarentolae, Leishmania donovani, Trypanosoma cruzi and Phytomonas serpens. We found that all of these species have a replication mechanism resembling that of C. fasciculata and that the polar replication mechanism observed in T. brucei is so far unique to this species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)675-679
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of cell science
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1998


  • Kinetoplast DNA
  • Replication
  • Trypanosomatid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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