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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1994 May;65(1):39-49.

Autonomous replication of bacterial DNA plasmid oligomers in Leishmania.

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Centre de Recherche du CHUL, Ste-Foy, Qu├ębec, Canada.


Extrachromosomal amplicons are frequently observed in drug-resistant Leishmania. A dominant selectable marker, the neomycin phosphotransferase gene, was introduced by gene targeting in a circular amplicon derived from the H locus of Leishmania in a mutant cell. This recombinant amplicon was isolated and transfected in a wild-type cell. The amplicon was kept in the wild-type cells, provided the selective pressure was maintained, suggesting that it was capable of autonomous replication. Novel Leishmania expression vectors suited for stable transfections were made to isolate, by a high transformation assay, the putative origin of replication in the amplicons. However, these plasmids, which did not contain a single Leishmania nucleotide, were found as extrachromosomal circular oligomers in Leishmania transfectants. Their relative stability, in addition to changes in their methylation pattern, indicated that these plasmids were most likely replicating. No specific sequences seem to be required for replication (and expression) in Leishmania, therefore precluding the isolation of origins of replication by genetic transformation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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