The role of cysteine proteases in intracellular pancreatic serine protease activation.


Autodigestion by proteolytic enzymes is thought to represent the critical mechanism by which acute pancreatitis is initiated. Where and why pancreatic proteases, which are physiologically stored and secreted as inactive precursor zymogens, are activated within the pancreas has remained controversial. Here we present data which indicate that: the lysosomal protease cathepsin B can activate trypsinogen in vitro in a manner that is similar to trypsinogen activation by enterokinase; that cathepsin B colocalizes with trypsinogen in the secretory compartment of the rat pancreas and of the human pancreas; that trypsinogen activation begins in a secretory compartment that is distinct from mature zymogen granules; and that the inhibition of cathepsin B can either increase or decrease premature trypsinogen activation depending on the concentration of the inhibitor, its specificity and its site of action in the pancreatic acinar cell. These observations elucidate some of the complex relations between cysteine and serine proteases in the pancreas with respect to their mechanisms of activation, their subcellular sites of action, and their possible role in the onset of pancreatitis.

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@article{Lerch2000TheRO, title={The role of cysteine proteases in intracellular pancreatic serine protease activation.}, author={Markus M. Lerch and Walter Halangk and Burkhard Kr{\"{u}ger}, journal={Advances in experimental medicine and biology}, year={2000}, volume={477}, pages={403-11} }