Deoxyribonucleic Acid - Interactions With Proteins - DNA-modifying Enzymes - Polymerases


Polymerases are enzymes that synthesize polynucleotide chains from nucleoside triphosphates. The sequence of their products are copies of existing polynucleotide chains – which are called templates. These enzymes function by adding nucleotides onto the 3′ hydroxyl group of the previous nucleotide in a DNA strand. As a consequence, all polymerases work in a 5′ to 3′ direction. In the active site of these enzymes, the incoming nucleoside triphosphate base-pairs to the template: this allows polymerases to accurately synthesize the complementary strand of their template. Polymerases are classified according to the type of template that they use.

In DNA replication, a DNA-dependent DNA polymerase makes a copy of a DNA sequence. Accuracy is vital in this process, so many of these polymerases have a proofreading activity. Here, the polymerase recognizes the occasional mistakes in the synthesis reaction by the lack of base pairing between the mismatched nucleotides. If a mismatch is detected, a 3′ to 5′ exonuclease activity is activated and the incorrect base removed. In most organisms, DNA polymerases function in a large complex called the replisome that contains multiple accessory subunits, such as the DNA clamp or helicases.

RNA-dependent DNA polymerases are a specialized class of polymerases that copy the sequence of an RNA strand into DNA. They include reverse transcriptase, which is a viral enzyme involved in the infection of cells by retroviruses, and telomerase, which is required for the replication of telomeres. Telomerase is an unusual polymerase because it contains its own RNA template as part of its structure.

Transcription is carried out by a DNA-dependent RNA polymerase that copies the sequence of a DNA strand into RNA. To begin transcribing a gene, the RNA polymerase binds to a sequence of DNA called a promoter and separates the DNA strands. It then copies the gene sequence into a messenger RNA transcript until it reaches a region of DNA called the terminator, where it halts and detaches from the DNA. As with human DNA-dependent DNA polymerases, RNA polymerase II, the enzyme that transcribes most of the genes in the human genome, operates as part of a large protein complex with multiple regulatory and accessory subunits.

Read more about this topic:  Deoxyribonucleic Acid, Interactions With Proteins, DNA-modifying Enzymes

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DNA Repair Mechanisms - Translesion Synthesis
... It involves switching out regular DNA polymerases for specialized translesion polymerases (i.e ... DNA polymerase IV or V, from the Y Polymerase family), often with larger active sites that can facilitate the insertion of bases opposite damaged nucleotides ... The polymerase switching is thought to be mediated by, among other factors, the post-translational modification of the replication processivity factor PCNA ...
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