General Considerations and Background
Hydrolases and other lytic enzymes play essential roles in virtually all living systems. Even a number of viruses code for “lysozymes” and “neuraminidases” that are suspected to participate in viral entry into or exit from cells or tissues (Shatkin 1971, Inouye et al. 1973). Extracellular digestive enzymes involved in nutrition or other functions are released by cells as diverse as bacteria and pancreatic acinar cells. Intracellular turnover, of almost all types of macromolecules, is thought to occur continuously within most eucaryotic cell types, and can be fairly extensive in procaryotes as well, at least under some circumstances. Such turnover is based on enzymatic degradation of macromolecules whose constituents are thereby made available for metabolic reuse. Degradative enzymes also participate in processes leading to fertilization in higher plants and animals, selective exclusion of foreign DNA in bacteria, escape of insects from their coccoons, blood-clotting and clot-dissolution, anti-microbial defense systems of higher organisms and an immense variety of other phenomena.
KeywordsAcid Phosphatase Autophagic Vacuole Lytic Enzyme Aryl Sulfatase Residual Body
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