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Protease is also known under alternative names, peptidase and proteinase . They are primarily enzyme s involved in the process of proteolysis causing the catabolism of protein through the hydrolysis of the peptide bonds , linking amino acids forming a polypeptide chain of proteins. They function best under acidic conditions except alkaline proteases which are less compatible in acidic environs. Proteases are broadly classified under six major heads as follows:

•  Aspartate proteases

•  Metalloproteases

•  Serine proteases

•  Threonine proteases

•  Cysteine proteases

They are also classified by the optimal pH they show maximum activity in. These include Acid proteases, Neutral proteases and Alkaline proteases.

Benefits :

Proteases are primarily involved in the digestion of complex chains of proteins into simpler segments by breaking down the peptide bonds which link amino acid residues with each other. They also perform the function of detaching the terminal amino acids from exopeptidases like aminopeptidases and carboxypeptidase A . Some other have been studied to attack endopeptidases such as trypsin , chymotrypsin , pepsin , papain and elastase .

Proteases are very important enzymes employed by the body for various metabolic processes. The acid proteases are secreted in the stomach in the form of pepsin and serine proteases found in the duodenum , particularly trypsin and chymotrypsin help digest the complex proteins present in blood serum. They also play an essential role in blood-clotting, by causing lysis of the clots. Some proteases are also present in the leukocytes and aid in proper functioning of the immune system