Protease enzyme. Computer model of a molecule of a protease enzyme. It is represented by two interacting protein ribbons (red and blue). Proteases are enzymes which cleave other proteins, and are often highly specific, performing only one task. Proteases contained within pathogens such as HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) play a role in the reproduction of the virus, cutting functional enzymes from larger precursor proteins. Drugs which bind to and inactivate HIV protease are thought to be able to slow or halt the progress of AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), the disease caused by HIV.
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