protease

[proh-tee-eys, -eyz]
noun Biochemistry.
any of a group of enzymes that catalyze the hydrolytic degradation of proteins or polypeptides to smaller amino acid polymers.

Origin:
1900–05; prote(in) + -ase

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Collins
World English Dictionary
protease (ˈprəʊtɪˌeɪs)
 
n
any enzyme involved in proteolysis
 
[C20: from protein + -ase]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

protease pro·te·ase (prō'tē-ās', -āz')
n.
Any of various enzymes, including the proteinases and peptidases, that catalyze the hydrolytic breakdown of proteins.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
protease   (prō'tē-ās')  Pronunciation Key 
Any of various enzymes that bring about the breakdown of proteins into peptides or amino acids by hydrolysis. Pepsin is an example of a protease.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

protease

any of a group of enzymes that break the long chainlike molecules of proteins into shorter fragments (peptides) and eventually into their components, amino acids. Proteolytic enzymes are present in bacteria and plants but are most abundant in animals. In the stomach, protein materials are attacked initially by the gastric enzyme pepsin. When the protein material is passed to the small intestine, proteins, which are only partially digested in the stomach, are further attacked by proteolytic enzymes secreted by the pancreas.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Protease inhibitors vary quite a bit in their drug-likeness, but they're certainly not impossible on the face of them.
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