an enzyme that cleaves proteins. HIV protease
cleaves the large precursor proteins produced from viral RNA into the
component parts (e.g., enzymes and structural proteins) that are then
assembled into new viral particles. Protease is essential for the production
of infectious new virions.
ProteaseJAMA An enzyme that hydrolyzes (ie, breaks down) proteins to their component peptides. See also Enzyme; Peptide; Proteins.
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