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J Biol Chem. 1987 Oct 25;262(30):14618-24.

Electron microscopy of amplified DNA forms in antifolate-resistant Leishmania.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco 94143.


Three independently derived antifolate-resistant Leishmania major cell lines overproduce the bifunctional protein thymidylate synthase-dihydrofolate reductase (TS-DHFR) by amplification of a region of DNA (R-region DNA) that contains the gene for TS-DHFR. On orthogonal-field-alteration gel electrophoresis (OFAGE), the extrachromosomal R-region DNAs are circular molecules, and different forms of R-region DNA within these cell lines are resolved. The R-region DNAs migrate aberrantly on OFAGE with respect to linear DNA and supercoiled plasmid standards. We describe a method for the isolation of these R-region DNA forms from OFAGE. By electron microscopy, we show that the extrachromosomal elements are single supercoiled circular DNA molecules, and are predominantly circular monomers and dimers of the original R-region DNA amplification unit. Using OFAGE, an analysis of cloned isolates shows that individual cells may contain multiple forms of R-region DNA. Furthermore, within a given cell line, certain distinguishable forms appear to have the same size and restriction map, suggesting they may be topoisomers. The multiple forms of R-region DNA are in a dynamic state in the antifolate-resistant populations, and the relative amount of DNA in each form as well as the number of forms within each cell line change through time. As currently understood, the generation of amplified R-region DNA in L. major is summarized.

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