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Postepy Biochem. 2005;51(3):318-27.

[Cystatins, thyropins and inhibitors homologous to propeptides of cysteine proteases].

[Article in Polish]

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Zaklład Fizykochemii Drobnoustrojów, Instytut Genetyki i Mikrobiologii, Uniwersytet Wrocławski, Wrocław.


Protein inhibitors of proteolytic enzymes play an important role in regulating the activity of endogenous proteases and in host defense mechanisms against pathogens preventing the deleterious effects of exogenous proteases. In recent years a great interest in protein inhibitors of cysteine proteases has increased due to the extensive growth of knowledge about the contribution of cysteine proteases to pathological processes associated with many human diseases, as well as due to prospects for treatment of these disorders which may arise from the thorough understanding of their inhibitory mechanisms. This paper reviews the most important aspects of three families of cysteine protease inhibitors: cystatins, thyropins and inhibitors homologous to propeptides of cysteine proteases. Special attention is given to structural bases of the interactions between the inhibitors and their target enzymes. The paper presents a general characterization of the families according to the MEROPS classification of protease inhibitors, pointing out new members.

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