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Helicobacter Pylori Urease drawn from PDB: 1E9Z​.

Urease (EC is an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of urea into carbon dioxide and ammonia. The reaction occurs as follows:

(NH2)2CO + H2O → CO2 + 2NH3

In 1926 James Sumner showed that urease is a protein. Urease is found in bacteria, yeast and several higher plants.


The multi-subunit enzyme usually has a 3:3 (alpha:beta) stoichiometry with a 2-fold symmetric structure (note that the image above gives the structure of the asymmetric unit, one third of the true biological assembly). An exceptional urease is found in Helicobacter pylori, which combines four of the regular six subunit enzymes in an overall tetrahedral assembly of 24 subunits (). This supra-molecular assembly is thought to confer additional stability for the enzyme in this organism, which functions to produce ammonia in order to neutralise gastric acid. The presence of urease is used in the diagnosis of Helicobacter species.

As diagnostic test

Organisms that produce urease tend to be gastrointestinal or urinary tract pathogens, since urease enables them to neutralize the acid present in these acidic environments.

Urease-positive pathogens include:

cy:Wreas da:Urease de:Urease it:Ureasi he:אוראז uk:Уреаза