(Science: enzyme) proteolytic Enzyme capable of breaking native collagen. Once the initial cleavage is made, less specific proteases will complete the degradation.
Collagenases from mammalian cells are metallo enzymes and are collagen type specific. May be released in latent (proenzyme) form into tissues and require activation by other proteases before they will degrade fibrillar matrix. Bacterial collagenases are used in tissue disruption for cell harvesting.