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 Pi for this reason). 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.
Classes of proteases are:
- Cysteine protease inhibitors
- Serine protease inhibitors (serpins)
- Trypsin inhibitors
- Threonine protease inhibitors
- Aspartic protease inhibitors
- Metalloprotease inhibitors
Classes of inhibitor mechanisms of action are:
- Suicide inhibitor
- Transition state inhibitor
- Protein protease inhibitor (See serpins)
- Chelating agents
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