Helicases are conserved enzymes that hydrolyze adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the presence of nucleic acids. These enzymes are able to translocate along double-stranded DNA and/or RNA molecules in a specific direction and to separate (unwind) the complementary strands of the duplex by dissociating the hydrogen bonds between the bases. Multiple helicases exist in all organisms, and their activities facilitate virtually all transactions in nucleic acid metabolism. They have diverse functions in the cell and their substrate specificity varies. Malfunction is often associated with genetic human diseases or syndromes.
Huttner, D., & Hickson, I. D. (2013). Helicases. In Brenner’s Encyclopedia of Genetics: Second Edition (pp. 406–408). Elsevier Inc. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-374984-0.00687-2