Duplex unwinding with DEAD-box proteins

Methods Mol Biol. 2010;587:245-64. doi: 10.1007/978-1-60327-355-8_18.


DEAD-box proteins, which comprise the largest helicase family, are involved in virtually all aspects of RNA metabolism. DEAD-box proteins catalyze diverse ATP-driven functions including the unwinding of RNA secondary structures. In contrast to many well-studied DNA and viral RNA helicases, DEAD-box proteins do not rely on translocation on one of the nucleic acid strands for duplex unwinding, but directly load onto helical regions and then locally pry the strands apart in an ATP-dependent fashion. In this chapter, we outline substrate design and unwinding protocols for DEAD-box proteins and focus on the quantitative evaluation of their unwinding activity.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases / genetics
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation*
  • RNA* / chemistry
  • RNA* / metabolism


  • RNA
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases