Since there is great variety in the processes that require separation of nucleic acid strands there is a corresponding variety in helicases. The cellular processes which require helicase activity include: DNA replication, transcription of DNA to RNA, and translation of RNA to protein. In addition; DNA repair and recombination also employ helicases.
Due to their involvement in so many important processes, the specific inhibition of helicases from pathogens is a possible route for developing new drugs to treat this pathogens. An approach designed to identify small molecule inhibitors of helicases is described in the BMG LABTECH application note entitled: Molecular Beacon based helicase assays on the FLUOstar Omega.