Cesium chloride centrifugation of DNA extracted from cells of blood strain Trypanosoma lewisi revealed a main band, ρ = 1.707, a light satellite, ρ = 1.699, and a heavy satellite, ρ = 1.721. Culture strain T. lewisi DNA comprised only a main band, ρ = 1.711, and a light satellite, ρ = 1.699. DNA isolated from DNase-treated kinetoplast fractions of both the blood and culture strains consisted of only the light satellite DNA. Electron microscope examination of rotary shadowed preparations of lysates revealed that DNA from kinetoplast fractions was mainly in the form of single 0.4 µ circular molecules and large masses of 0.4 µ interlocked circles with which longer, often noncircular molecules were associated. The 0.4 µ circular molecules were mainly in the covalently closed form: they showed a high degree of resistance to thermal denaturation which was lost following sonication; and they banded at a greater density than linear DNA in cesium chloride-ethidium bromide gradients. Interpretation of the large masses of DNA as comprising interlocked covalently closed 0.4 µ circles was supported by the findings that they banded with single circular molecules in cesium chloride-ethidium bromide gradients, and following breakage of some circles by mild sonication, they disappeared and were replaced by molecules made up of low numbers of apparently interlocked 0.4 µ circles. When culture strain cells were grown in the presence of either ethidium bromide or acriflavin, there was a loss of stainable kinetoplast DNA in cytological preparations. There was a parallel loss of light satellite and of circular molecules from DNA extracted from these cells.

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