A polymerase is an enzyme whose central biological function is the synthesis of polymers of nucleic acids. DNA polymerase and RNA polymerase are used to assemble DNA and RNA molecules, respectively, generally by copying a DNA or RNA template strand using base-pairing interactions.

It is an accident of history that the enzymes responsible for the generation of other biopolymers are not also referred to as polymerases. For example, the enzymatic complex that assembles amino acids into proteins is termed the ribosome, rather than "protein polymerase".

One particular polymerase, from the thermophilic bacterium, Thermus aquaticus (Taq) (PDB 1BGX, EC is of vital commercial importance due to its use in the polymerase chain reaction, a widely used technique of molecular biology.

Other well-known polymerases include:

  • Terminal Deoxynucleotidyl Transferase (TDT), which lends diversity to antibody heavy chains
  • Reverse Transcriptase, an enzyme used by RNA retroviruses like HIV, which is used to create a complementary strand to the preexisting strand of viral RNA before it can be integrated into the DNA of the host cell. It is also a major target for antiviral drugs.

Other articles related to "polymerase":

T7 DNA Polymerase
... The T7 DNA polymerase of the T7 bacteriophage is a DNA-dependent DNA polymerase responsible for the fast rate of T7 phage DNA replication in vivo ... The polymerase consists of a 11 complex of the viral T7 gene 5 protein (80kDA) and the E ... This polymerase is unique due to its considerable processivity, or ability to stay on DNA for a greater than average number of base pairs ...
TOPO Cloning - Technique
... used for cloning fragments amplified by either Taq or Pfu polymerase as Taq polymerase (unlike Pfu) leaves an extra "A" nucleotide at the 3'end during amplification ... insert is created by PCR using Taq DNA polymerase, a polymerase that lacks 3' to 5' proofreading activity and with a high probability adds a single, 3'-adenine overhang to each end of the PCR product ... if the PCR primers have guanines at the 5' end as this maximizes probability of Taq DNA polymerase adding the terminal adenosine overhang ...
... Gene Ontology Molecular function • DNA-directed RNA polymerase activity • CTD phosphatase activity Cellular component • spindle pole • nucleus • nucleoplasm • nucleolus • cytoplasm • centrosome ... factor which regulates elongation as well as initiation by RNA polymerase II ... The protein may also represent a component of an RNA polymerase II holoenzyme complex ...
... acid chain elongation by binding to the polymerase, thus stopping RNA polymerase activity inside a cell ... Specifically, it inhibits the assembly of the RNA polymerase II transcription complex and DNA polymerase III transcription ...