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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effect of dyskinetoplastic agents on ultrastructure and oxidative phosphorylation in Crithidia fasciculata.

Ethidium bromide (EB) is an intercalating agent which binds specifically to the kinetoplast (mitochondrial) DNA (kDNA) of trypanosomatids. Accordingly, EB inhibits DNA replication, thus inducing dyskinetoplasty. Since in eukariotic organisms mitochondrial DNA encodes the genetic information for cytochromes b, aa3 and F0F1 ATPase, it seemed of interest to establish whether a similar effect occurs in Crithidia fasciculata, a trypanosomatid used for assay of potential trypanocidal drugs. Culturing of C. fasciculata in the presence of EB inhibited growth and induced dyskinetoplasty, as confirmed by electron microscopy. The kinetoplast of EB-cultured crithidia lost its characteristic arc shape, it was misplaced in the cell cytoplasm its matrix structure and membrane differentiation were specifically modified. Dyskinetoplasty decreased crithidia respiration and oxidative phosphorylation, as indicated by the lower ATP level, ATP/ADP ratio and adenylate energy charge. The interference of EB with kinetoplastic constituents synthesis was confirmed by the lack of action of EB on crithidia in the stationary phase of growth, that ruled out direct inhibition of oxidative phosphorylation enzymes. The lipophilic o-naphthoquinone beta-lapachone produced structural alterations in kinetoplast membranes, that correlated with inhibition of oxidative phosphorylation. These latter effects involved free radicals since they were prevented by free radical scavengers.[1]


  1. Effect of dyskinetoplastic agents on ultrastructure and oxidative phosphorylation in Crithidia fasciculata. Biscardi, A.M., Lopez, L.M., de Pahn, E.M., Pellegrino de Iraldi, A., Stoppani, A.O. Biocell (2001) [Pubmed]
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