These proteins constitute a large and diverse group of enzymes that can hydrolyze peptides, amides, and halides, in addition to carboxylesters (EC 3.1.1), thioesters (EC 3.1.2), and phosphate esters (EC 3.1.3). Carboxylesterases (CESs) are important from a clinical viewpoint because ester derivatives of therapeutic agents are widely used as prodrugs to improve solubility, taste, absorption, bioavailability, and stability and to prolong duration of action.91 The physiological function of the CESs is obscure, although recent work has shown that they may play a role in cholesterol and fatty acid homeostasis and affect the trafficking of other endoplasmic reticulum proteins such as C-reactive protein.92 Certain esterases are also of toxicological interest, especially those involved in the metabolism of neurotoxic organophosphates (OPs).93

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