The term protease refers to any enzyme capable of breaking down the peptide bonds linking two amino acids present in proteins.
The degradation of proteins by proteases can take place from one end of the protein. This is known as exopeptidase. On the other hand, if the peptide bond is broken in the middle of the protein, it is called an endoprotease.
Proteases belong to the enzymatic family of hydrolases. They need water molecules to carry out their enzymatic reaction.
Proteases are involved during digestion, but also in various cellular processes.