Nucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolases (NTPDases), originally ATP diphosphohydrolases (ATPDases) with the common name apyrase, are by definition enzymes which split the γ- and β-phosphate residues of triphospho- and diphosphonucleosides such as ATP and ADP, respectively. Before the cloning of the gene, the common name “apyrase” was generally used for enzymes that exhibit this activity in plants and invertebrates while the terms ecto-ATPase and ATP diphosphohydrolase (ATPDase) were rather used in vertebrates (Beaudoin et al. 1996). Shortly after cloning the first gene encoding such an enzyme, the nomenclature was unified in mammals to NTPDase, which better reflects the ability of these enzymes to convert not only ATP and ADP but also other triphospho- and diphosphonucleosides (Zimmermann et al. 1999).
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