Standard Article


  1. Sidney R Kushner

Published Online: 16 MAY 2002

DOI: 10.1038/npg.els.0001034



How to Cite

Kushner, S. R. 2002. Nucleases. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 MAY 2002


While the genetic information encoded in DNA and RNA molecules is directly related to the order of the purine and pyrimidine bases, it is the sugar–phosphate backbone that provides the glue that keeps these molecules intact. It is the function of nucleases to break the stable phosphodiester bonds between the sugar moieties when necessary. Nucleases participate in almost all biological reactions involving either RNA or DNA.


  • DNA metabolism;
  • RNA metabolism;
  • phosphodiester bond cleavage;
  • ribozymes