Role of p38 in replication of Trypanosoma brucei kinetoplast DNA

Beiyu Liu, Henrik Molina, Dario Kalume, Akhilesh Pandey, Jack D. Griffith, Paul T. Englund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Trypanosomes have an unusual mitochondrial genome, called kinetoplast DNA, that is a giant network containing thousands of interlocked minicircles. During kinetoplast DNA synthesis, minicircles are released from the network for replication as θ-structures, and then the free minicircle progeny reattach to the network. We report that a mitochondrial protein, which we term p38, functions in kinetoplast DNA replication. RNA interference (RNAi) of p38 resulted in loss of kinetoplast DNA and accumulation of a novel free minicircle species named fraction S. Fraction S minicircles are so underwound that on isolation they become highly negatively supertwisted and develop a region of Z-DNA. p38 binds to minicircle sequences within the replication origin. We conclude that cells with RNAi-induced loss of p38 cannot initiate minicircle replication, although they can extensively unwind free minicircles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5382-5393
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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