A nicked form of kinetoplast DNA in Leishmania tarentolae

P. T. Englund, D. C. DiMaio, S. S. Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The mitochondrial DNA of the protozoan L. tarentolae, known as kinetoplast DNA, contains thousands of minicircles linked in a two-dimensional network. When kinetoplast DNA from exponentially growing cells is centrifuged to equilibrium in a CsCl/ethidium bromide gradient, it is resolved into two discrete components, Form I and Form II. Nearly all of the minicircles in Form I networks are covalently closed and all of those in Form II networks are open. These forms are indistinguishable from each other when examined by electron microscopy and they appear identical when analyzed by gel electrophoresis after digestion with the restriction enzymes Hae III or Hpa II. However, Form II networks sediment roughly 50% faster than Form I networks on a neutral sucrose gradient, indicating that Form II networks are larger in size or more compact in conformation, or both. Analysis of denatured Form II DNA by sedimentation or electron microscopy indicates that nearly all of its minicircles have one or more interruptions in both strands. Since the majority of the Form II minicircles can be closed by DNA ligase, most of these interruptions must be nicks. Experiments with S1 nuclease indicate that some small gaps also exist in Form II minicircles. 5'-Terminal nucleotide analysis of Form II kinetoplast DNA does not suggest that the interruptions are at specific locations in the minicircles. The significance of the two forms of kinetoplast DNA has not yet been determined, but it is possible that Form II is an intermediate in replication of this DNA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6208-6216
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number17
StatePublished - 1977

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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