Invertebrate trypsins: a review

J Comp Physiol B. 2008 Aug;178(6):655-72. doi: 10.1007/s00360-008-0263-y. Epub 2008 Apr 11.


Food protein hydrolysis, a crucial step in digestion, is catalyzed by trypsin enzymes from the digestive apparatus of invertebrates. Trypsin appeared early in evolution and occurs in all phyla and, in the digestive systems of invertebrates, it became the most abundant proteinase. As in vertebrates, invertebrate trypsin is also present in several forms (isoenzymes). Its physiological importance in food protein digestion in several invertebrate species has emerged with compelling evidence; and several other physiological functions, such as regulation of digestive functions, are now settled. Recent advances in the knowledge of invertebrate trypsin synthesis, regulation, genetics, catalytic characteristics; structure, evolution, as well as inhibition, especially in non-Drosophilidae insects and in some crustaceans are reviewed. Most of the existing information is largely based on the use of several tools, including molecular techniques, to answer many still open questions and solve medical, agricultural, and food quality problems.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Crustacea / enzymology
  • Dietary Proteins / metabolism*
  • Digestive System / enzymology*
  • Endocrine System / enzymology
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Hydrolysis
  • Insect Hormones / metabolism
  • Insect Proteins / metabolism
  • Insecta / enzymology
  • Invertebrates / enzymology*
  • Invertebrates / genetics
  • Isoenzymes
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Conformation
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Trypsin / chemistry
  • Trypsin / genetics
  • Trypsin / metabolism*
  • Trypsinogen / chemistry
  • Trypsinogen / genetics
  • Trypsinogen / metabolism*


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Insect Hormones
  • Insect Proteins
  • Isoenzymes
  • Trypsinogen
  • Trypsin
  • Calcium