What is reverse transcriptase enzyme and how does it function?

Reverse transcriptase is an enzyme that copies single stranded DNA into double stranded DNA.

Reverse Transcriptase enzyme

Reverse Transcriptase Enzyme

It is an RNA-dependent DNA polymerase that is used in the viral replication because they can only replicate their DNA when they are inside the host\’s cell. While the enzyme synthesizes DNA in the unprotected host cells, it is bound to the target cell by the enzyme.

But there is a problem, the target cell\’s DNA has to first be broken down into short single stranded pieces of DNA. The enzyme does this by breaking down the target cell\’s DNA at \”start\” points.

In the process of doing this, the enzyme also introduces an RNA primer and a DNA chain that can be used to reconstruct the original chain. The enzyme is evolved from a similar protease that is made to destroy RNA, but is altered to destroy DNA instead.


  1. Reverse transcriptase replicates RNA into DNA by selecting a target for the growing DNA strand and then copying the RNA strand in reverse order, from the end of the strand to the beginning. Thus, the RNA is copied into DNA.

    Reverse transcriptase belongs to a group of enzymes known as reverse transcriptases. These enzymes catalyze the formation of DNA from RNA by using a DNA as a template.

    Reverse transcriptase is a very important enzyme in retroviruses. It is also used in research because it makes it possible to copy RNA molecules. Thankfully, it is not found in human cells.

  2. Reverse transcriptase is an enzyme that is found in retroviruses. Retroviruses are able to convert their RNA into double stranded DNA and insert it into the DNA of their host cell. This is how they cause damage to the host cells by interrupting cellular transcription.

    Reverse transcriptase is an enzyme that takes the DNA of the host cell and converts it into RNA. This helps the virus replicate and is one of the reasons that retroviruses are so harmful to their hosts.

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