What Enzymes Are Involved In DNA Replication?

By Antonia Čirjak on May 10 2020 in Science

DNA replication is a process that is researched in molecular biology.
DNA replication is a process that is researched in molecular biology.
  • Two identical replicas of DNA are produced from one DNA molecule during the DNA replication process.
  • The two strands of our DNA double helix get separated during the process of replication.
  • The main goal of proteins that are involved in the replication is to help the start as well as the continuation of the process of DNA synthesis.

DNA replication is a process that is researched in molecular biology. During DNA replication, two identical replicas of DNA are produced from a single DNA molecule. This molecule is considered the original one. This process is present in all living organisms, and it is the basis of all genetic inheritance.

Each cell can divide itself, which makes it a property shared by all living things, and it makes the replication of DNA an essential process in nature. During the process of DNA replication, six main enzymes are involved in it. Those enzymes are helicase, gyrase, primase, DNA polymerase III, DNA polymerase I, and Ligase. 

The Process Of Replication

Our DNA is built like a double helix that features two strands that complement each other. These two strands get separated during the process of replication. Once they are separated, they begin serving as templates for the production of other duplicate strands. This process is called semi-conservative replication. The new helix that gets created as a result of this process is composed of the original DNA strand as well as a strand that is newly synthesized.

DNA replication starts at specific locations in the genome. A large number of proteins are connected to the replication, and their goal is to help the start as well as the continuation of the process of DNA synthesis. An interesting fact about DNA replication is that it can be performed in vitro. This means that we perform it outside of a cell, artificially. By isolating various DNA polymerases from cells, we can start the process of DNA synthesis in a template model of our DNA. 

The Roles Of The Enzymes

The role each enzyme plays in the process of DNA replication is different. The helicase enzyme unwinds the DNA double helix. This is the separation that was mentioned earlier. The gyrase enzyme has the role of relieving the buildup of torque that happens during the unwinding process. The role of the next enzyme, the primase, is to lay down the RNA primers. It provides a starting point of RNA, which makes it easier for the following enzymes to do their job.

The DNA polymerase III enzyme is the primary enzyme used for DNA synthesis. It is responsible for starting the addition of nucleotide substrates to our DNA during the process of DNA replication. Many types of this enzyme perform various functions, but this one is one of the two most important ones.

The second one is the enzyme DNA polymerase I, who has the extremely important function of replacing RNA primers with DNA. This is pretty self-explanatory. And finally, the sixth on our list of the most important enzymes involved in DNA replication is ligase. The role of the enzyme ligase is to fill in the gaps that are left on the strands after the process of replication is done. Yes, the process of DNA replication leaves several nicks on the leading strand and the lagging strands, which then need to be filled by ligase.

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