Last reviewed 01/2018

Acetylcholinesterase is an enzyme found in the basement membrane around cholinergic nerve terminals. It is fixed by virtue of it being a membrane-bound protein. It is also found in erythrocytes.

AChE cleaves the neurotransmitter acetylcholine into an acetic acid and choline moieties. It has little activity for other esters.

The enzyme is a target for anticholinesterase drugs. It is also attacked irreversibly by organophosphate pesticides; this is also the basis for the use of phosphorous compounds as weapons of war.