Peptidase, also called protease or proteinase, is a type of enzyme that helps to break down proteins in the body. This type of enzyme occurs naturally in the living things and forms part of many metabolic processes. They form part of the larger systems in the body, including the digestive, immune, and blood circulation systems. These enzymes are classified into five different groups: aspartic proteinases, cysteine proteinases, metalloproteinases, serine proteinases, and threonine proteases.
In the digestive system, peptidases break down proteins by destroying the chains between their amino acids, and many can usually be found in the digestive tract. When protein enters the body, it needs to be digested and broken down into smaller molecules so that it can be used. This type of enzyme is responsible for this catabolic process.
Aspartic proteinases can usually be found in an acidic environment like the stomach. They are responsible for the breakdown of food and are also called pepsins. Other places that aspartic proteinases can be found are in blood plasma and in the immune system.
Cysteine proteinases are involved in hormone production and can also be found in the immune system. They also play an important role in bone development. These enzymes may also be found in certain fruits, like kiwis and pineapples, and are usually consumed as part of an individual's normal diet.
Metalloproteinases are a group of enzymes that need various metals, like cobalt and zinc, for their catabolic processes. They are also one of the most important groups of enzymes present in the body and assist with various bodily functions.
Serine proteinases can be found in various organisms and may specifically found in the digestive system. They are mainly produced in the pancreas, and a shortage of these enzymes may cause cystic fibrosis. They may also be used to reduce inflammation and prevent the formation of blood clots.
Threonine proteases is largely responsible for maintaining the proteasome. The proteasome is a large component of most cells, and it breaks down unwanted or damaged proteins. This process is called proteolysis and is also essential for many processes in the body.