IUBMB Enzyme Nomenclature


Accepted name: carboxylesterase

Reaction: A carboxylic ester + H2O = an alcohol + a carboxylate

Other name(s): ali-esterase; B-esterase; monobutyrase; cocaine esterase; procaine esterase; methylbutyrase; vitamin A esterase; butyryl esterase; carboxyesterase; carboxylate esterase; carboxylic esterase; methylbutyrate esterase; triacetin esterase; carboxyl ester hydrolase; butyrate esterase; methylbutyrase; α-carboxylesterase; propionyl esterase; nonspecific carboxylesterase; esterase D; esterase B; esterase A; serine esterase; carboxylic acid esterase; cocaine esterase

Systematic name: carboxylic-ester hydrolase

Comments: Wide specificity. The enzymes from microsomes also catalyse the reactions of EC (arylesterase), EC (lysophospholipase), EC (acetylesterase), EC (acylglycerol lipase), EC (acylcarnitine hydrolase), EC (palmitoyl-CoA hydrolase), EC (amidase) and EC (aryl-acylamidase). Also hydrolyses vitamin A esters.

Links to other databases: BRENDA, EAWAG-BBD, EXPASY, KEGG, Metacyc, PDB, CAS registry number: 9016-18-6


1. Augusteyn, R.C., de Jersey, J., Webb, E.C. and Zerner, B. On the homology of the active-site peptides of liver carboxylesterases. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 171 (1969) 128-137. [PMID: 4884138]

2. Barker, D.L. and Jencks, W.P. Pig liver esterase. Physical properties. Biochemistry 8 (1969) 3879-3889. [PMID: 4981346]

3. Bertram, J. and Krisch, K. Hydrolysis of vitamin A acetate by unspecific carboxylesterases from liver and kidney. Eur. J. Biochem. 11 (1969) 122-126. [PMID: 5353595]

4. Burch, J. The purification and properties of horse liver esterase. Biochem. J. 58 (1954) 415-426.

5. Horgan, D.J., Stoops, J.K., Webb, E.C. and Zerner, B. Carboxylesterases (EC 3.1.1). A large-scale purification of pig liver carboxylesterase. Biochemistry 8 (1969) 2000-2006. [PMID: 5785220]

6. Malhotra, O.P. and Philip, G. Specificity of goat intestinal esterase. Biochem. Z. 346 (1966) 386-402.

7. Mentlein, R., Schumann, M. and Heymann, E. Comparative chemical and immunological characterization of five lipolytic enzymes (carboxylesterases) from rat liver microsomes. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 234 (1984) 612-621. [PMID: 6208846]

8. Runnegar, M.T.C., Scott, K., Webb, E.C. and Zerner, B. Carboxylesterases (EC 3.1.1). Purification and titration of ox liver carboxylesterase. Biochemistry 8 (1969) 2013-2018. [PMID: 5785222]

[EC created 1961]

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