The DNA double helix provides a simple and elegant way to store and copy genetic information. However, the processes requiring the DNA helix strands separation, such as transcription and replication, induce a topological side-effect – supercoiling of the molecule. Topoisomerases comprise a specific group of enzymes that disentangle the topological challenges associated with DNA supercoiling. They relax DNA supercoils and resolve catenanes and knots. Here, we review the catalytic cycles, evolution, diversity, and functional roles of type II topoisomerases in organisms from all domains of life, as well as viruses and other mobile genetic elements.
- DNA segregation
- spatial chromosome organization