Protease inhibitor (biology)

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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 Pi for this reason).[1] 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:

By mechanism

Classes of inhibitor mechanisms of action are: