noun, plural: hydrolases

An enzyme that speeds up the process of hydrolysis.


In biochemistry, a hydrolase is an enzyme that speeds up the hydrolysis of proteins, starch, fats, nucleic acids, and other complex biomolecules.

For instance, hydrolases act on the following reaction:

A–B + H2O → A–OH + B–H

Hydrolases are classified as EC 3 (according to the EC number classification of enzymes). Hydrolases can be further classified into various subclasses based on the bonds they act upon, such as nucleases for the hydrolysis of nucleic acids, proteases for proteins, etc.

Word origin: hydrolysis: Gk, comb. form of hýdōr, water + -ase, suffix for names of enzymes.

Synonym: hydrolyst, hydrolytic enzyme.
See also: hydrolysis.

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