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A polymerase is an enzyme (EC 188.8.131.52/7/19/48/49) that synthesizes long chains of polymers or nucleic acids. DNA polymerase and RNA polymerase are used to assemble DNA and RNA molecules, respectively, by copying a DNA template strand using base-pairing interactions or RNA by half ladder replication.
- DNA polymerase
- Family A: DNA polymerase I; Pol γ, θ, ν
- Family B: DNA polymerase II; Pol α, δ, ε, ζ
- Family C: DNA polymerase III holoenzyme
- Family X: DNA polymerase IV (DinB) – SOS repair polymerase; Pol β, λ, μ
- Family Y: DNA polymerase V (UmuD'2C) - SOS repair polymerase; Pol η, ι, κ
- Reverse transcriptase, an enzyme used by RNA retroviruses like HIV, which is used to create a complementary strand to the preexisting strand of viral RNA before it can be integrated into the DNA of the host cell. It is also a major target for antiviral drugs.
- RNA polymerase
In general, viral single-subunit RNA polymerases/replicases/reverse transcriptase shares a common origin with DNA polymerase. They have a conserved "palm" domain. Multi-subunit RNA polymerase forms an unrelated group. Primases have a more complex story: bacterial primases with the Toprim domain are related to topoisomerase and mitochrondrial helicase, while archaea and eukaryotic primases form a unrelated family, possibly related to the polymerase palm. Both families nevertheless associate to the same bunch of helicases.
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