less than 1 minute read

Reverse Transcriptase

Discovery, Laboratory Uses Of Reverse Transcriptase, Reverse Transcriptase And Aids, Reverse Transcription And The Human Genome

Reverse transcriptase is the replication enzyme of retroviruses. Because it polymerizes DNA precursors, reverse transcriptase is a DNA polymerase. However, whereas cellular DNA polymerases use DNA as a template for making new DNAs, reverse transcriptase uses the single-stranded RNA in retroviruses as the template for synthesizing viral DNA. This unusual process of making DNA from RNA is called "reverse transcription" because it reverses the flow of genetic information (from DNA to RNA, rather than from RNA to DNA found in transcription). Because reverse transcriptase is essential for retroviruses such as HIV-1 (the virus that causes AIDS), it is the target of many antiretroviral therapeutics. Reverse transcriptase is also a molecular tool used in the cloning of genes and the analysis of gene expression.

Additional topics

Medicine EncyclopediaGenetics in Medicine - Part 4