What enzyme unzips the DNA double helix?


Quick Answer

The enzyme DNA helicase unzips the DNA double helix to allow it to replicate. DNA helicase has a rotation speed of 10,000 rotations per minute and moves ahead of the replication fork. It continuously unwinds the DNA strands to allow DNA polymerase to attached new nucleotide strands.

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Full Answer

DNA helicase is a hexameric ring structure of six subunits. It unzips the double helix by breaking down the hydrogen bonds holding the DNA strands together. After being unzipped, the strand with the 3' -OH group becomes the leading strand, which can be replicated immediately. The strand with the 5' -OH group is the lagging strand, and it is replicated later in a process known as discontinuous replication.

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