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An enzyme that catalyzes the splitting of nucleic acids to nucleotides, nucleosides, or the components of the latter.



a phosphodiesterase enzyme that splits nucleic acids into mononucleotides and oligonucleotides.

Nucleases are widely distributed in the cells of microorganisms, plants, and animals. These enzymes are especially abundant in pancreatic juice and in the saliva of mammals and man. A distinction is made between 3′ and 5′ nucleases, depending on whether the enzyme splits the phosphodiester bonds of the nucleic acid to form nucleotides that contain phosphoric acid residues on the 3’- or 5’-carbon of the carbohydrate fragment. The terminal mononucleotides are separated by exonucleases; nucleases that split bonds within the polynucleotide chain are called endonucleases. Ribonucleases and deoxyribonucleases are distinguished according to whether they split ribonucleic or deoxyribonucleic acids. Nonspecific nucleases are able to split chains of both types of acids.

Nucleases are proteins—usually basic—with a comparatively low molecular weight; for example, the pancreatic ribonuclease molecule consists of 124 amino-acid residues. The biological function of nucleases is to digest and split nucleic acids that are foreign to the organism, for example, nucleic acids of invasive viruses. This is the rationale for using nucleases to treat certain viral diseases. Nucleases participate in the repair of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) by eliminating the fragmented portions of the DNA molecule from the polynucleotide chain. Nucleases also appear to play a major role in regulating the synthesis and decomposition of nucleic acids in cells. A nuclease enzyme can be used in laboratories to free preparations from a specific nucleic acid, to determine the structure of nucleic acids, and to study the mechanism of nucleic acid decomposition and synthesis.


Shapot, V. S. Nukleazy. Moscow, 1968.


References in periodicals archive ?
Recently, mutant mice with biallelic deletions of the target site were obtained by injection of transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs), another type of artificial restriction enzyme, into 1-cell embryos (Sung et al.
Uropathogenic specific protein gene, highly distributed in extraintestinal uropathogenic Escherichia coli, encodes a new member of H-N-H nuclease superfamily.
This newly issued patent provides the company with broad claims to many of the methods used by DNE nucleases to modify eukaryotic cells.
Genome-wide detection of DNA double-stranded breaks induced by engineered nucleases.
New Brighton (Minnesota, USA) and Evanston (Illinois, USA) Cellectis plant sciences, a Minnesota-based company focusing on developing healthier food products, and the Two Blades Foundation (2Blades) today announced the execution of a non-exclusive cross-license agreement relating to TAL nuclease technologies.
The new technique employs zinc finger nuclease (ZFN) proteins, which can bind and cut DNA at precisely defined locations in the genome.
The new method repairs defective genes using zinc finger nucleases.
Harnessing the latest technologies for genome engineering including Zinc Finger Nucleases (ZFN) and CRISPR/Cas9, SAGE produces complex research models in less than half the time as conventional technologies.
Cellectis, a leader of engineered CART cell therapies, and Thermo Fisher Scientific announced today that they have entered into a series of agreements covering the uses of TAL nucleases under the brand name TALEN .
Since 2009, SAGE Labs has been using targeted nucleases, including CRISPR/Cas9 and zinc finger nucleases, to perform genetic engineering in mice, rats, and rabbits as part of their SAGEspeed custom model generation service.
Cellectis, the Genome engineering specialist, announced today that it has successfully used engineered nucleases to genetically reprogram diatoms with a view to producing biofuels.
Precision's DNE technology allows for highly precise gene editing with engineered nucleases, a technique named Method of the Year by Nature Methods.