What Ending Is Typically Found at the End of Enzyme Names?

By Mallory Malesky; Updated April 24, 2017

Enzymes play a vital role in the cellular activity of living organisms. These molecules are made up of proteins and work to catalyze specific reactions. Each different enzyme molecule has a certain job to do, such as the digestion of food. There are many different types of enzymes that have been identified by scientists. The ending "-ase" is typically found at the end of enzyme names.

Enzyme Nomenclature

The majority of enzymes are named the same way. The suffix "-ase" is added to the name of the substrate the enzyme acts on. Depending on the name of the substrate, some of its last letters might be replaced with "-ase." For example, lactase is the enzyme that acts on lactose; sucrase acts on sucrose. Although this is the common method for naming enzymes, some of the first enzymes to be discovered end with "-in." These include some of the common digestive enzymes, such as pepsin.