Is Protease An Enzyme? 9 Facts You Should Know

Is protease an enzyme, proteins are referred to as the basic building materials in any living body. Protease is the enzyme that splits or breaks down the protein into small particles called the amino acids.

Protease is an enzyme (catalyst) which splits the peptide molecule that is the amino acid chain. So we know that proteins are basically made up of the amino acids and connected with the peptide bond and called the amino acid chain. These enzymes act on these bonds and break or split the peptide bond.

Why is protease an enzyme?

Enzymes can be distinguished from other components by their distinctive mode of action.

Protease enzymes have the capability to hydrolyse the peptide bond present in the amino acid chain that makes up the protein structure. So when proteins come in contact with the protease the results will be the hydrolysis of the protein and eventually small amino acids are formed.

How is protease an enzyme?

The working mechanism of the protease will eventually show that the protease is an enzyme.

Protein + protease and the results due to hydrolysis of the peptide bond will be small amino acids (which is the basic constituent of the protein).

Let’s have a clear perspective with an example,

Protein= A B C

Protease enzyme= O O O

Here the protein A B C is made up of amino acids A molecule, B molecule, and C molecule.

A B C + O O O = A + B + C

Note: This is just an example (There is no such amino acids called A, B, C or protease O O O and protein A B C)

What group of enzymes is protease?

Protease enzyme have proteolytic properties that is they lyse the protein bond.

Protease fall under the hydrolysis group, in which the protein molecules are hydrolysed and broken into amino acids.

Where is the protease enzyme found?

  • Protease is abundantly found in plants and animals.
  • It is one of the major enzymes that is produced by the living organisms to digest and utilize the protein that we tend to eat and thus the absorption takes place.
  • For homo sapiens, it is abundantly found in the pancreatic juice which aids in the digestion of protein. Eg: Trypsin, chymotrypsin and pepsin (secreted in the stomach)
  • In plants, it is also produced in the roots and shoots.
  • Papaya produces a proteolytic enzyme called papain and pineapple produces a proteolytic enzyme called bromelain.

Functions of protease enzyme:

  • In addition to being proteolytic, they help in digestion and catabolism of proteins.
  • During hydrolysis, they convert peptide bonds into amino acids, which are then absorbed and used by cells.
  • Amino acids are needed for coagulation of fluids.
  • In addition to cell division, growth, apoptosis, and migration, proteases are involved in cell division, growth, and migration.
  • Membrane transport and recycling of proteins.
  • Activating precursor proteins and zymogens is one of their functions.
  • The enzymes in the body support the immune system and regulate the growth, metastasis, and inflammation of tumors.
  • Additionally, they may help with wound healing and muscle soreness.
  • Application: Detergent industry, can be used to remove stains, wool making, silver recycler, tenderizer, healthcare and many more

Name few protease enzymes or proteolytic enzyme example:

There are many many examples for the proteolytic enzymes, here are few of them.

Trypsin, Chymotrypsin, Carboxypeptidase, Elastase, Nuclease (ribonuclease and deoxyribonuclease), Collagenase, Dipeptidase, Pepsin, Rennin, Thrombin, Plasmin, Renin   , Hyaluronidase, Insulinase, Chymases, tryptases, Cathepsin, Neurolysin.

Can protease be a substrate?

It is well known that enzymes and substrates have a relationship, where the substrate is the main component and the enzyme is a catalyst that aids in initiating or accelerating any biochemical or biological reaction. Because proteases are enzymes, they cannot be substrates. Any biochemical or biotechnological process or reaction requires enzymes as catalysts.

Is protease enzyme a protein?

“All enzymes are proteins but all proteins are not enzymes” Proteins are made up of amino acids molecules, which eventually form enzymes. Therefore, protease enzyme is a protein.


Protease or the proteolytic enzymes are the enzymes that degrade the polypeptide or the protein molecule. It is present in all living beings like animals and plants which aid in the utilization of the protein.

Sugaprabha Prasath

Hello, I am Sugaprabha Prasath, a Postgraduate in the field of Microbiology. I am an active member in Indian association of applied microbiology (IAAM). I have research experience in preclinicals (Zebra fish), bacterial enzymology and nanotechnology. I have published 2 research articles in an International journal and a few more yet to be published, 2 sequences submitted in NCBI-GENBANK. I am good at clearly explaining the concepts in biology both basic and advance level. My area of specialization is biotechnology, microbiology, enzymology, molecular biology, pharmacovigilance. Apart from academics, I love gardening and being with plants and animals. My linkedin profile-

Recent Posts