Helicases are specialized molecular motors that separate duplex nucleic acids into single strands. The RecQ family of helicases functions at the interface of DNA replication, recombination and repair in bacterial and eukaryotic cells. They are key, multifunctional enzymes that have been linked to three human diseases: Bloom's, Werner's and Rothmund-Thomson's syndromes. This review summarizes recent studies that relate the structures of RecQ proteins to their biochemical activities.
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