Giant proteins that move DNA: bullies of the genomic playground

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2006 Aug;7(8):580-8. doi: 10.1038/nrm1982.


As genetic material DNA is wonderful, but as a macromolecule it is unruly, voluminous and fragile. Without the action of DNA replicases, topoisomerases, helicases, translocases and recombinases, the genome would collapse into a topologically entangled random coil that would be useless to the cell. We discuss the organization, movement and energetics of these proteins that are crucial to the preservation of a molecule that has such beautiful biological but challenging physical properties.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA / metabolism*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Weight
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • DNA