DNA synthesis in Plasmodium berghei during asexual and sexual development

Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1986 Aug;20(2):173-82. doi: 10.1016/0166-6851(86)90029-0.


DNA contents of individual stages of Plasmodium berghei were measured by direct microfluorometry after Feulgen-pararosaniline (SO2) staining. Sporozoites, intra-erythrocytic ringforms and trophozoites (until at least 15 h after invasion) are haploid and non-synthesizing DNA. DNA is synthesized just before and during schizogony, which takes 4-6 h. Genome duplication and segregation are alternating events throughout this process. Mature micro- and macrogametocytes have DNA contents between the haploid and diploid value; most, if not all of the DNA in excess of the haploid value is synthesized during the last 5-10 h of maturation. During gametogenesis microgametocytes within 8-10 min synthesize DNA steadily and at a very high rate to more than the octoploid value while the DNA content of macrogametocytes remains constant. Fertilization in vitro takes place within 1 h after gamete formation. Within 2 h and coinciding with the onset of meiosis the zygote then synthesizes DNA up to almost the tetraploid value, after which synthesis stops during ookinete development. All the above mentioned processes of DNA synthesis are reversibly inhibited by aphidicolin (C50 from 3-13 microM). From the rate of DNA synthesis during microgametogenesis we calculated a minimum of 1300 origins of replication in the haploid genome of P. berghei.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aphidicolin
  • Cytophotometry
  • DNA / biosynthesis*
  • Diploidy
  • Diterpenes / pharmacology
  • Gametogenesis
  • Genes
  • Haploidy
  • Plasmodium berghei / genetics*
  • Plasmodium berghei / growth & development
  • Plasmodium berghei / physiology
  • Rats
  • Reproduction
  • Reproduction, Asexual


  • Diterpenes
  • Aphidicolin
  • DNA