What Is the Function of Helicase?

function-helicase Credit: Steve Collis/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

Helicase is an enzyme that unwinds DNA strands. After it unwinds double-stranded DNA, two pairs of single-stranded DNA are available for replication, transcription and translation.

Helicase is also known as a motor protein due to its ability to move down the double-stranded DNA strand and unzip it into two single strands. While unwinding the DNA strands, helicase converts chemical energy from ATP or NTP into mechanical energy. This enzyme is a key component of DNA replication, transcription and translation. Without helicase, DNA would not be able to unwind and undergo either process, and cells would not be able to divide.