Mitochondrial DNA polymerase POLIB is essential for minicircle DNA replication in African trypanosomes.

Abstract:

The unique mitochondrial DNA of trypanosomes is a catenated network of minicircles and maxicircles called kinetoplast DNA (kDNA). The network is essential for survival, and requires an elaborate topoisomerase-mediated release and reattachment mechanism for minicircle theta structure replication. At least seven DNA polymerases (pols) are involved in kDNA transactions, including three essential proteins related to bacterial DNA pol I (POLIB, POLIC and POLID). How Trypanosoma brucei utilizes multiple DNA pols to complete the topologically complex task of kDNA replication is unknown. To fill this gap in knowledge we investigated the cellular role of POLIB using RNA interference (RNAi). POLIB silencing resulted in growth inhibition and progressive loss of kDNA networks. Additionally, unreplicated covalently closed precursors become the most abundant minicircle replication intermediate as minicircle copy number declines. Leading and lagging strand minicircle progeny similarly declined during POLIB silencing, indicating POLIB had no apparent strand preference. Interestingly, POLIB RNAi led to the accumulation of a novel population of free minicircles that is composed mainly of covalently closed minicircle dimers. Based on these data, we propose that POLIB performs an essential role at the core of the minicircle replication machinery.

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