Protease inhibitor (biology)

In biology and biochemistry, protease inhibitors are molecules that inhibit the function of peptidases (old name: "protease", hence the term "protease inhibitor"). Many naturally occurring protease inhibitors are proteins.

In medicine, "protease inhibitor" is often used interchangeably with alpha 1-antitrypsin (A1AT, which is abbreviated P"i" for this reason). [ [ OMIM - PROTEASE INHIBITOR 1; PI ] ] A1AT is indeed the protease inhibitor most often involved in disease, namely in alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency.


Protease inhibitors may be classified either by the type of protease the inhibit, or by their mechanism of action.

By protease

Classes of "proteases" are:

* Cysteine protease inhibitors
* Serine protease inhibitors ("serpins")
** Trypsin inhibitors
* Threonine protease inhibitors
* Aspartic protease inhibitors
* Metalloprotease inhibitors

By mechanism

Classes of "inhibitor mechanisms of action" are:

* Suicide inhibitor
* Transition state inhibitor
* Protein protease inhibitor (see serpins)
* Chelating agents


* Aprotinin
* Bestatin
* Calpain inhibitor I and II
* Chymostatin
* E-64
* Leupeptin ("N"-acetyl-L-leucyl-L-leucyl-L-argininal)
* alpha-2-Macroglobuline
* Pefabloc SC
* Pepstatin
* PMSF (phenylmethanesulfonyl fluoride)
* Trypsin inhibitors

External links

* [ Sigma-Aldrich protease inhibitor overview]


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