from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A hydrolytic enzyme that removes sialic acid from mucoproteins and is found chiefly in microorganisms of the respiratory and intestinal tracts.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An antigenic enzyme, found on the surfaces of viruses, that catalyzes the hydrolysis of terminal acylneuraminic residues from oligosaccharides, glycoproteins, and glycolipids


neuramin(ic acid) (neur(o)- + amin(e)) + -id(e) + -ase.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
-ase (Wiktionary)



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  • "Meanwhile, the spikes of neuraminidase, the other protuberance that jutted out from the surface of the virus, are performing another function. Electron micrographs show neuraminidase to have a boxlike head extending from a thin stalk, and attached to the head are what look like four identical six-bladed propellers. The neuraminidase breaks up the sialic acid remaining on the cell surface. This destroys the acid's ability to bind to influenza viruses."
    —John M. Barry, The Great Influenza (NY: Penguin Books, 2004), 104

    February 11, 2009