Received April 5, 2012
In this review we present data about small intestine serine proteases, which are a considerable part of the proteolytic apparatus in this major part of the gastrointestinal tract. Serine proteases of intestinal epitheliocytes, their structural–functional features, cellular localization, physiological substrates, and mechanisms of activity regulation are examined. Information about biochemical and functional properties of serine proteases is presented in a common context with morphological and physiological data, this being the basis for understanding the functional processes taking place in upper part of the intestine. Serine proteases play a key role in the physiology of the small intestine and provide the normal functioning of this organ as part of the digestive system in which hydrolysis and suction of food substances occur. They participate in renewal and remodeling of tissues, retractive activity of smooth musculature, hormonal regulation, and defense mechanisms of the intestine.
KEY WORDS: serine proteases, small intestine, digestive conveyor, activation of zymogens, tissue remodeling, epithelium renewal