An enzyme that removes an acetyl group: one of the most active deacetylation reactions is the constant deacetylation (and reacetylation) of lysyl residues in histones (the half life of an acetyl group may be as low as 10min). Acetylation (which removes a positive charge on the lysine e -amino group) is thought to be increased in active genes, therefore deacetylation would be important in switching off genes.

Dictionary of molecular biology. 2004.

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