EC - DNA helicase

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IntEnz Enzyme Nomenclature


Accepted name:
DNA helicase
Other names:
3' to 5' DNA helicase
3'-5' DNA helicase
3'-5' PfDH
5' to 3' DNA helicase
BACH1 helicase
BLM protein
BRCA1-associated C-terminal helicase
DNA helicase 120
DNA helicase A
DNA helicase E
DNA helicase II
DNA helicase III
DNA helicase RECQL5'
DNA helicase VI
DnaB helicase E1
helicase HDH IV
Hel E
helicase DnaB
helicase domain of bacteriophage T7 gene 4 protein helicase
PcrA helicase
MCM helicase
MCM protein
MER3 helicase
MER3 protein
Systematic name:
ATP phosphohydrolase (DNA helix unwinding)



DNA helicases utilize the energy from ATP hydrolysis to unwind double-stranded DNA. Some of them unwind duplex DNA with a 3' to 5' polarity [1,3,5,8], other show 5' to 3' polarity [10,11,12,13] or unwind DNA in both directions [14,15]. Some helicases unwind DNA as well as RNA [4,9]. May be identical with EC (RNA helicase).

Links to other databases

Enzymes and pathways: NC-IUBMB , BRENDA , ExplorEnz , ENZYME@ExPASy , KEGG , MetaCyc , UniPathway
Protein domains and families: PROSITE:PDOC00039 , PROSITE:PDOC51192 , PROSITE:PDOC51198 , PROSITE:PDOC51199 , PROSITE:PDOC51206 , PROSITE:PDOC51413
Structural data: CSA , EC2PDB
Gene Ontology: GO:0003678
UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot: (1000) [show] [UniProt]


  1. Ozsoy, A. Z., Sekelsky, J. J., Matson, S. W.
    Biochemical characterization of the small isoform of Drosophila melanogaster RECQ5 helicase.
    Nucleic Acids Res. 29 : 2986-2993 (2001). [PMID: 11452023]
  2. Tanner, J. A., Watt, R. M., Chai, Y. B., Lu, L. Y., Lin, M. C., Peiris, J. S., Poon, L. L., Kung, H. F., Huang, J. D.
    The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus NTPase/helicase belongs to a distinct class of 5' to 3' viral helicases.
    J. Biol. Chem. 278 : 39578-39582 (2003). [PMID: 12917423]
  3. Nakagawa, T., Flores-Rozas, H., Kolodner, R. D.
    The MER3 helicase involved in meiotic crossing over is stimulated by single-stranded DNA-binding proteins and unwinds DNA in the 3' to 5' direction.
    J. Biol. Chem. 276 : 31487-31493 (2001). [PMID: 11376001]
  4. Lee, C., Seo, Y. S.
    Isolation and characterization of a processive DNA helicase from the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe that translocates in a 5'-to-3' direction.
    Biochem. J. 334 : 377-386 (1998). [PMID: 9716495]
  5. Phan, T. N., Ehtesham, N. Z., Tuteja, R., Tuteja, N.
    A novel nuclear DNA helicase with high specific activity from Pisum sativum catalytically translocates in the 3'→5' direction.
    Eur. J. Biochem. 270 : 1735-1745 (2003). [PMID: 12694186]
  6. Bernstein, D. A., Zittel, M. C., Keck, J. L.
    High-resolution structure of the E.coli RecQ helicase catalytic core.
    EMBO J. 22 : 4910-4921 (2003). [PMID: 14517231]
  7. Pike, A. C., Shrestha, B., Popuri, V., Burgess-Brown, N., Muzzolini, L., Costantini, S., Vindigni, A., Gileadi, O.
    Structure of the human RECQ1 helicase reveals a putative strand-separation pin.
    Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 106 : 1039-1044 (2009). [PMID: 19151156]
  8. Frick, D. N.
    The hepatitis C virus NS3 protein: a model RNA helicase and potential drug target.
    Curr. issues Mol. Biol. 9 : 1-20 (2007). [PMID: 17263143]
  9. Ivanov, K. A., Ziebuhr, J.
    Human coronavirus 229E nonstructural protein 13: characterization of duplex-unwinding, nucleoside triphosphatase, and RNA 5'-triphosphatase activities.
    J. Virol. 78 : 7833-7838 (2004). [PMID: 15220459]
  10. Ivessa, A. S., Zhou, J. Q., Schulz, V. P., Monson, E. K., Zakian, V. A.
    Saccharomyces Rrm3p, a 5' to 3' DNA helicase that promotes replication fork progression through telomeric and subtelomeric DNA.
    Genes Dev. 16 : 1383-1396 (2002). [PMID: 12050116]
  11. Zhou, J. Q., Qi, H., Schulz, V. P., Mateyak, M. K., Monson, E. K., Zakian, V. A.
    Schizosaccharomyces pombe pfh1+ encodes an essential 5' to 3' DNA helicase that is a member of the PIF1 subfamily of DNA helicases.
    Mol. Biol. Cell 13 : 2180-2191 (2002). [PMID: 12058079]
  12. George, T., Wen, Q., Griffiths, R., Ganesh, A., Meuth, M., Sanders, C. M.
    Human Pif1 helicase unwinds synthetic DNA structures resembling stalled DNA replication forks.
    Nucleic Acids Res. 37 : 6491-6502 (2009). [PMID: 19700773]
  13. Naqvi, A., Tinsley, E., Khan, S. A.
    Purification and characterization of the PcrA helicase of Bacillus anthracis.
    J. Bacteriol. 185 : 6633-6639 (2003). [PMID: 14594837]
  14. Ruiz-Maso, J. A., Anand, S. P., Espinosa, M., Khan, S. A., del Solar, G.
    Genetic and biochemical characterization of the Streptococcus pneumoniae PcrA helicase and its role in plasmid rolling circle replication.
    J. Bacteriol. 188 : 7416-7425 (2006). [PMID: 16936036]

[EC created 2009]