Priming the engine of DNA synthesis



Publication Details

Mansfield, R. E. & Dixon, N. E. (2012). Priming the engine of DNA synthesis. Structure, 20 (9), 1447-1448.


Synthesis of new DNA is carried out by DNA polymerases that copy DNA templates. Curiously, these enzymes cannot start DNA strands; they can only extend preexisting ‘‘primers’’ that have a 30-OH group available to attack the a-phosphate of incoming complementary dNTPs. It is the job of the primases to produce the initiating (RNA) primers for every DNA strand. Primases are unusual DNA-dependent RNA polymerases that generate short segments of RNA:DNA heteroduplex, and in bacteria, the primase activity is attributed to the DnaG protein.

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