IUBMB Enzyme Nomenclature


Accepted name: chlorophyllase

Reaction: chlorophyll + H2O = phytol + chlorophyllide

For diagram click here or click here

Other name(s): CLH; Chlase

Systematic name: chlorophyll chlorophyllidohydrolase

Comments: Chlorophyllase has been found in higher plants, diatoms, and in the green algae Chlorella [3]. This enzyme forms part of the chlorophyll degradation pathway and is thought to take part in de-greening processes such as fruit ripening, leaf senescence and flowering, as well as in the turnover and homeostasis of chlorophyll [4]. This enzyme acts preferentially on chlorophyll a but will also accept chlorophyll b and pheophytins as substrates [5]. Ethylene and methyl jasmonate, which are known to accelerate senescence in many species, can enhance the activity of the hormone-inducible form of this enzyme [5].

Links to other databases: BRENDA, EXPASY, KEGG, Metacyc, CAS registry number: 9025-96-1


1. Holden, M. The breakdown of chlorophyll by chlorophyllase. Biochem. J. 78 (1961) 359-364. [PMID: 13715233]

2. Klein, A.O. and Vishniac, W. Activity and partial purification of chlorophyllase in aqueous systems. J. Biol. Chem. 236 (1961) 2544-2547. [PMID: 13756631]

3. Tsuchiya, T., Ohta, H., Okawa, K., Iwamatsu, A., Shimada, H., Masuda, T. and Takamiya, K. Cloning of chlorophyllase, the key enzyme in chlorophyll degradation: finding of a lipase motif and the induction by methyl jasmonate. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 96 (1999) 15362-15367. [PMID: 10611389]

4. Okazawa, A., Tango, L., Itoh, Y., Fukusaki, E. and Kobayashi, A. Characterization and subcellular localization of chlorophyllase from Ginkgo biloba. Z. Naturforsch. [C] 61 (2006) 111-117. [PMID: 16610227]

5. Hörtensteiner, S. Chlorophyll degradation during senescence. Annu. Rev. Plant Biol. 57 (2006) 55-77. [PMID: 16669755]

[EC created 1961, modified 2007]

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