Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: -ase

DNA Polymerase
This is an illustration of a DNA polymerase molecule. DNA polymerase is an enzyme that synthesizes DNA. Credit: Callista Image/Cultura/Getty Images

Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: -ase

Definition: The suffix (-ase) is used to signify an enzyme. In enzyme naming, an enzyme is denoted by adding (-ase) to the end of the name of the substrate on which the enzyme acts. It is also used to identify a particular class of enzymes that catalyze a specific type of reaction.

Examples:

Acetylcholinesterase (acetyl-cholin-ester-ase) - a nervous system enzyme, also present in muscle tissue and red blood cells, that catalyzes the hydrolysis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

This enzyme inhibits the stimulation of muscle fibers.

Amylase (amyl-ase) - a digestive enzyme that catalyzes the decomposition of starch into sugar. It is produced in salivary glands and the pancreas.

Carboxylase (carboxyl-ase) - class of enzymes that catalyze the release of carbon dioxide from certain organic acids.

Collagenase (collagen-ase) - an enzyme present in some bacteria that degrades collagen.

Deoxyribonuclease (de-oxy-ribo-nucle-ase) - an enzyme that degrades DNA by catalyzing the hydrolysis of the phosphodiester bonds in the sugar-phosphate backbone of this nucleic acid.

Hydrolase (hydro-lase) - class of enzymes that catalyze the hydrolysis of a compound.

Isomerase (isomer-ase) - class of enzymes that catalyze reactions that structurally rearrange molecules from one isomer to another.

Lactase (lact-ase) - an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of lactose into glucose and galactose.

This enzyme is found in high concentrations in the liver, kidneys, and mucous lining of the intestines.

Ligase (lig-ase) - class of enzymes that catalyze the joining together of molecules. For example, DNA ligase joins DNA fragments together during DNA replication.

Maltase (malt-ase) - an enzyme that converts the disaccharide maltose to glucose.

Nuclease (nucle-ase) - group of enzymes that catalyze the hydrolysis of the bonds between nucleotide bases in nucleic acids. These enzymes split DNA and RNA molecules.

Peptidase (peptid-ase) - an enzyme that breaks peptide bonds in proteins, thereby forming amino acids.

Polymerase (polymer-ase) - a group of enzymes that build polymers of nucleic acids.

Ribonuclease (ribo-nucle-ase) - an enzyme that catalyzes the break down of RNA molecules.

Sucrase (sucr-ase) - an enzyme that catalyzes the decomposition of sucrose into glucose and fructose.

Transcriptase (transcript-ase) - an enzyme that catalyzes DNA transcription by producing RNA from a DNA template.