Definition of depolymerize in US English:


(British depolymerise)


[with object]Chemistry
  • 1Break (a polymer) down into monomers or other smaller units.

    • ‘When nocodazole was used to depolymerize microtubules in the cell periphery, we observed a significant increase of failures to initiate compared to untreated cells.’
    • ‘Eleven mutants whose decline in viability was fully or partly suppressed by depolymerizing the spindle were retained.’
    • ‘Second, the separate filaments depolymerize into monomers.’
    • ‘These pharmacological agents depolymerize microtubules and actin respectively.’
    • ‘The largest shift in molecular weight occurred during the melting stage, but matrix glycans remained at moderately high molecular weight even in overripe fruit, and were not depolymerized to small size.’
    1. 1.1no object Undergo the process of depolymerization.
      ‘the ideal disposable polymer would depolymerize naturally’
      • ‘This suggests that the distribution of minus ends where microtubules depolymerize and thus, the pole itself, extends over a large area.’
      • ‘Others have suggested that cofilin depolymerizes by severing filaments and capping their barbed ends.’
      • ‘A simple model would be one in which actin on one side of a patch is polymerizing while the other side is depolymerizing.’
      • ‘Says Nogales, ‘That the rings remain attached to the microtubule end as it depolymerizes, is a most ingenious mechanism to move chromosome to the two daughter cells during anaphase, without even requiring energy.’’
      • ‘Some of these short caps broke off when the actin monomers were washed out; the rest depolymerized within 300 s.’