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Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2002 Jun;3(6):430-40.

Cellular roles of DNA topoisomerases: a molecular perspective.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, Fairchild Building, 7 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.


DNA topoisomerases are the magicians of the DNA world by allowing DNA strands or double helices to pass through each other, they can solve all of the topological problems of DNA in replication, transcription and other cellular transactions. Extensive biochemical and structural studies over the past three decades have provided molecular models of how the various subfamilies of DNA topoisomerase manipulate DNA. In this review, the cellular roles of these enzymes are examined from a molecular point of view.

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