Is Trypsin an Enzyme? 9 Interesting Facts (Read This First)

In this article we are focusing on the topic entitled as “Is Trypsin an Enzyme? 9 Interesting Facts”. We are giving all the facts and putting down the statements supporting the topic.

Trypsin is an enzyme, a protein which enhances the speed of the biochemical reaction it is involved in. Trypsin is found in plants, bacteria, fungi and small intestine in animals including human beings. Trypsin is commercially produced from the pancreas of cattle and other livestock.

Trypsin is an extracellular enzyme, meaning enzyme that works outside the cells and play an important role in the catabolic processes. Other extracellular enzymes that help in digestion are trypsin, peptidase, pancreatic amylase.

Structure of Trypsin enzyme

Trypsin is a serine protease as well as the chymotrypsin. It is a globular protein of a medium size and functions as serine protease.

is trypsin an enzyme
Structure of Trypsinogen Image from Wikipedia

Functions of Trypsin enzyme

Trypsin is a proteolytic enzyme which catalysis the breakdown of proteins and is an essential enzyme in the living organisms and for the cells to function properly.

  • The main function of trypsin is to breakdown proteins by acting on the carboxyl side of lysine and arginine amino acids.
  • Trypsin enhances the reaction involving the hydrolysis or breakdown of proteins into peptides.
  • Peptides are further broken down into amino acid constituents with the help of other protease enzymes.
  • Protein digestion with trypsin is the necessary step for the protein absorption in intestine. Proteins are complex and large for their absorption in the intestine without any prior breakdown.
  • Enterokinase is an enzyme present in the small intestine that helps in the activation of trypsin which in turn activates further trypsin like enzymes, like chymotrypsin and carboxypeptidases.

 Why is Trypsin an Enzyme?

Trypsin is an enzyme which is formed of amino acids. Trypsin is also known as serine protease 1 which is found in pancreas. Trypsin functions as an enzyme in various biochemical reactions as a peptidase enzyme that cleaves internal peptide bonds and also helps in detaching the cells by hydrolyzing the bonds involved in cell adherence.

Trypsin being an extracellular enzyme is present in the extracellular fluid, where they catalyze the reactions happening outside the cells. PRSS1 serine protease 1 is the gene that encodes for trypsinogen which is an inactive form of trypsin produced in pancreas in humans.

How is Trypsin an Enzyme?

Trypsin is a very important enzyme that functions in the digestion of proteins.  It works actively in small intestine where it breaks down the proteins even more coming from the stomach. Trypsin has also been classified as proteinase enzyme or proteolytic enzyme produced in pancreas in an inactive form known as trypsinogen.

Trypsin has been classified as an endopeptidase which means it cleaves the internal amino acids in within a polypeptide chain and breaks them into small peptide chains. These peptide chains are cleaved in further digestion reactions in small intestine.

What kind of enzyme is Trypsin?

The class of enzyme trypsin belongs to is known as proteases or proteolytic enzyme. This is a class of enzyme that uses proteins as substrates and breaks them down into small peptides. Proteolytic enzymes can be produced from plants, fungi, bacteria, animals including humans.

Trypsin is a type of serine protease enzyme also known as serine endopeptidases which catalysis the cleavage of peptide bonds. These are the enzymes where serine is present at the active site where cleavage is going to happen. Other examples of serine proteases include, chymotrypsin, Trypsin, elastase, plasmin, thrombin, acrosomal protease, etc.

PDB structure of Protease image from Wikipedia

Where is Trypsin enzyme found?

Trypsin is commonly found in the small intestine, produced in pancreas and it is expressed in all the other body tissues. It is a serine protease digestive enzyme which is produced in pancreas as a precursor known as trypsinogen. It is converted into an active form when secreted to small intestine by proteolytic cleavage with the help of enterokinase enzyme.

It functions as proteolytic enzyme once it gets activated in the small intestine and breaks down the proteins into small individual amino acids by cleaving the peptide bonds holding the proteins together.

Is Trypsin enzyme a protein?

Yes, trypsin is an enzyme and all enzymes are proteins. Trypsin are globular proteins and they function as pancreatic serine protease. It cleaves the peptide bonds at the Carboxyl-terminal side of lysine and arginine amino acid residues. Trypsin is an enzyme that posses the ability to cleave protein and it is also a protein by its structural nature as it is made up of amino acids.

Trypsin has many molecular weights as a protein depending on the source it has been produced from. Trypsin which has been isolated from bovine and porcine has a molecular weight of 23.3 kilo Dalton. The optimum temperature at which trypsin functions is at 37 degrees Celsius.

What is important about a Trypsin enzyme?

The catalytic property for the cleavage of peptide bonds is the specialty and importance of trypsin enzyme. The main function of trypsin is to help in the digestion of proteins and break them in a form which can be absorbed by the intestine for further degradation into small individual amino acids.

The process of hydrolysis of proteins performed by the trypsin is known as trypsinization and the hydrolyzed proteins are called trypsinzed. Trypsin is secreted in pancreas in an inactive form and then activated and functions inside small intestine. The catalytic active site of trypsin contains serine, histidine and aspartate amino acid residues.

How Trypsin is produced and when?

Trypsin is produced in the pancreas in an inactive precursor form known as trypsinogen. It is converted into an active form in the small intestine by the release of enterokinase that catalysis the cleavage of amino-terminal activation peptide. After being activated trypsin cleaves the small peptide chains into individual amino acids.


To conclude the article, we can say that trypsin is a proteolytic enzyme and is also known as serine-protease kinase found in almost all living organisms and is highly significant for the cell functioning and to maintain homeostasis.

Sneha Sah

Hey! I am Sneha Sah, I have completed post graduation in Biotechnology. Science has always been fascinating to me and writing is my passion. As an academic writer my aim is to make Science easy and simple to learn and read. Reach me at-

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