The kinetoplast is a concatenated network of circular DNA molecules found in the mitochondrion of many trypanosomes. This mass of DNA is replicated in a discrete "S" phase in the cell cycle. We have tracked the incorporation of the thymidine analogue 5-bromodeoxyuridine into newly replicated DNA by immunofluorescence and novel immunogold labeling procedures. This has allowed the detection of particular sites of replicated DNA in the replicating and segregating kinetoplast. These studies provide a new method for observing kinetoplast DNA (kDNA) replication patterns at high resolution. The techniques reveal that initially the pattern of replicated DNA is antipodal and can be detected both on isolated complexes and in replicating kDNA in vivo. In Trypanosoma brucei the opposing edges of replicating kDNA never extend around the complete circumference of the network, as seen in other kinetoplastids. Furthermore, crescent-shaped labeling patterns are formed which give way to labeling of most of the replicating kDNA except the characteristic midzone. The configuration of these sites of replicated DNA molecules is different to previous studies on organisms such as Crithidia fasciculata, suggesting differences in the timing of replication of mini and maxicircles and/or organization of the replicative apparatus in the kinetoplast of the African trypanosome.

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