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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1992 Jan;50(1):115-25.

Recurrent polymorphisms in small chromosomes of Leishmania tarentolae after nutrient stress or subcloning.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of California, Los Angeles 90024-1606.


Molecular karyotypes of the UC, LEM87 and LEM115 Leishmania tarentolae strains were obtained. All strains had 24-28 chromosomal bands which varied in size between 300 kb and 2.9 Mb. Several recurrent chromosomal polymorphisms occurred in LEM115 after nutrient shock or subcloning. One type of polymorphism involves the truncation of a 365-kb chromosome which contains the miniexon genes. This specific chromosome breakage appears to be induced by the nutrient shock or subcloning process and also occurs spontaneously during routine passage. Another polymorphism is the appearance of a 90-kb minichromosome (115-SNA1) after severe nutrient shock. This appears to be selection of a pre-existing cell type from a mosaic population. The 115-SNA1 minichromosome has sequence homology with a minichromosome in LEM87 cells but shows no homology with any chromosomes in 115wt or other strains. The copy number of 115-SNA1 varies with culture conditions, suggesting a relaxed centromeric control. The nature and origin of this minichromosome is not known.

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