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Nagoya J Med Sci. 1998 May;61(1-2):11-26.

DNA topoisomerase: the key enzyme that regulates DNA super structure.

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  • 1Laboratory of Medical Mycology, Nagoya University School of Medicine.


DNA is a macromolecule carrying all genetic information and it must be packed in the cell nucleus. DNA is a double helix where one strand coils around the other. The helix is unwound and rewound every now and then to take out its information, which requires local alteration of the helical structure, resulting in the super-coiling of DNA. For replication, all the coils must be unwound at least once, and two daughter molecules are often catenated to each other. To solve these problems caused by the helical structure of DNA, topoisomerase activity introducing the transient breaking and rejoining of DNA strand is essential to perform each DNA transaction. In this article, we first review the mechanistic aspect of topoisomerase activity, and then discuss its basic clinical importance.

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