The rotational dynamics of kinetoplast DNA replication

Yanan Liu, Paul T. Englund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


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 ∼180° 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)676-690
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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