noun[mass noun] Biochemistry
An enzyme that causes rapid hydrolysis of acetylcholine. Its action serves to stop excitation of a nerve after transmission of an impulse.
- An early favorite target was the vital enzyme acetylcholinesterase, required for hydrolysis of acetylcholine at neuromuscular junctions, and it has been exploited by agrochemical companies in a spectacular manner.
- Once released, ACh must be removed rapidly in order to allow repolarization to take place; this step, hydrolysis, is carried out by the enzyme, acetylcholinesterase.
- All nerve agents act by inhibiting the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, which breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
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