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Mol Microbiol. 2007 May;64(3):676-90.

The rotational dynamics of kinetoplast DNA replication.

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Department of Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins Medical School, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Kinetoplast DNA (kDNA), from trypanosomatid mitochondria, is a network containing several thousand catenated minicircles that is condensed into a disk-shaped structure in vivo. kDNA synthesis involves release of individual minicircles from the network, replication of the free minicircles and reattachment of progeny at two sites on the network periphery approximately 180 degrees apart. In Crithidia fasciculata, rotation of the kDNA disk relative to the antipodal attachment sites results in distribution of progeny minicircles in a ring around the network periphery. In contrast, Trypanosoma brucei progeny minicircles accumulate on opposite ends of the kDNA disk, a pattern that did not suggest kinetoplast motion. Thus, there seemed to be two distinct replication mechanisms. Based on fluorescence microscopy of the kDNA network undergoing replication, we now report that the T. brucei kinetoplast does move relative to the antipodal sites. Whereas the C. fasciculata kinetoplast rotates, that from T. brucei oscillates. Kinetoplast motion of either type must facilitate orderly replication of this incredibly complex structure.

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