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Chem Biol Drug Des. 2009 Jan;73(1):7-16. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-0285.2008.00757.x.

The thermolysin family (M4) of enzymes: therapeutic and biotechnological potential.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Medical Biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tromsø, N-9037 Tromsø, Norway.


Zinc containing peptidases are widely distributed in nature and have important roles in many physiological processes. M4 family comprises numerous zinc-dependent metallopeptidases that hydrolyze peptide bonds. A large number of these enzymes are implicated as virulence factors of the microorganisms that produce them and are therefore potential drug targets. Some enzymes of the family are able to function at the extremes of temperatures, and some function in organic solvents. Thereby enzymes of the thermolysin family have an innovative potential for biotechnological applications.

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