Analysis of Plasmodium falciparum mitochondrial six-kilobase DNA by pulse-field electrophoresis

J Parasitol. 1999 Apr;85(2):386-9.


The 6-kb mtDNA of Plasmodium falciparum is thought to replicate by a recombination-dependent mechanism generating large complex branched structures. For technical reasons, including shearing caused by DNA extraction methods, a meaningful quantitative comparison of large complex mtDNA forms has not been feasible. With the use of pulse-field gel electrophoresis, which minimizes any loss or shearing of DNA, we were able to identify an unusually slow migrating population of mtDNA that was resolved from the 6-23-kb population of linear concatemers. Levels of this slow-migrating population of mtDNA were highest during early schizont stage, suggesting that these forms represent replication intermediates. This approach provides a convenient means to monitor the presence of large mtDNA structures in P. falciparum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Southern
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / analysis*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / isolation & purification
  • DNA, Protozoan / analysis
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Pulsed-Field / methods*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / genetics*


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • DNA, Protozoan