Pepsin hydrolyzes peptide bonds, not amide or ester linkages. Pepsin cleaves peptides with an aromatic acid on either side of the peptide bond. Sulfur-containing amino acids increase susceptibility to hydrolysis when they are close to the peptide bond. Pepsin preferentially cleaves at the carboxyl side of phenylalanine and leucine and at the carboxyl side of glutamic acid residues. Cleaves Phe-Val, Gln-His, Glu-Ala, Ala-Leu, Leu-Tyr, Tyr-Leu, Gly-Phe, Phe-Phe and Phe-Tyr bonds in the β chain of insulin
Pepsin is the major proteolytic enzyme produced in the stomach. It digests proteins through the cleavage of interior peptide linkages..
The enzyme does not cleave at valine, alanine, or glycine linkages. Z-L-tyrosyl-L-phenylalanine, Z-L-glutamyl-L-tyrosine, and Z-L-methionyl-L-tyrosine may be used as substrates for pepsin digestion. Pepsin is inhibited by several phenylalanine-containing peptides.
Preferential cleavage: hydrophobic and aromatic residues in P1 and P1′ postitions. Cleaves Phe-Val, Gln-His, Glu-Ala, Ala-Leu, Leu-Tyr, Tyr-Leu, Gly-Phe, Phe-Phe and Phe-Tyr bonds in the β chain of insulin