Structures of DNA and RNA polymerases and their interactions with nucleic acid substrates

Curr Opin Struct Biol. 1995 Feb;5(1):27-38. doi: 10.1016/0959-440x(95)80006-m.


DNA and RNA polymerases are enzymes that are primarily responsible for copying genetic material in all living systems. The four polymerases whose structures have been determined by X-ray crystallographic methods have significant similarities at the polymerase active site that are indicative of common requirements for polynucleotide synthesis. Structural studies of complexes of the Klenow fragment of Escherichia coli DNA polymerase I, HIV type 1 reverse transcriptase, and rat DNA polymerase beta with DNA are leading to generalized models for catalysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Polymerase I / chemistry
  • DNA Polymerase I / metabolism
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / chemistry*
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism*
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases / chemistry*
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Nucleic Acids / chemistry*
  • Nucleic Acids / metabolism*
  • Protein Conformation*
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / chemistry
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism
  • Rats


  • Nucleic Acids
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases
  • DNA Polymerase I
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase