In the duodenum, trypsin catalyzes the hydrolysis of peptide bonds, breaking down proteins into smaller peptides. The peptide products are then further hydrolyzed into amino acids via other proteases, rendering them available for absorption into the blood stream. Tryptic digestion is a necessary step in protein absorption as proteins are generally too large to be absorbed through the lining of the small intestine.
Trypsin is produced as the inactive zymogen trypsinogen in the pancreas. When the pancreas is stimulated by cholecystokinin, it is then secreted into the first part of the small intestine (the duodenum) via the pancreatic duct. Once in the small intestine, the enzymeenteropeptidase activates trypsinogen into trypsin by proteolytic cleavage. Auto catalysis can happen with trypsin using trypsinogen as the substrate. This activation mechanism is common for most serine proteases, and serves to prevent autodegradation of the pancreas