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Nucleic Acids Res. 2018 Jan 4;46(D1):D624-D632. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkx1134.

The MEROPS database of proteolytic enzymes, their substrates and inhibitors in 2017 and a comparison with peptidases in the PANTHER database.

Author information

EMBL European Bioinformatics Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridgeshire CB10 1SD, UK.
Division of Bioinformatics, Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, 1450 Biggy St, NRT 2502, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA.


The MEROPS database ( is an integrated source of information about peptidases, their substrates and inhibitors. The hierarchical classification is: protein-species, family, clan, with an identifier at each level. The MEROPS website moved to the EMBL-EBI in 2017, requiring refactoring of the code-base and services provided. The interface to sequence searching has changed and the MEROPS protein sequence libraries can be searched at the EMBL-EBI with HMMER, FastA and BLASTP. Cross-references have been established between MEROPS and the PANTHER database at both the family and protein-species level, which will help to improve curation and coverage between the resources. Because of the increasing size of the MEROPS sequence collection, in future only sequences of characterized proteins, and from completely sequenced genomes of organisms of evolutionary, medical or commercial significance will be added. As an example, peptidase homologues in four proteomes from the Asgard superphylum of Archaea have been identified and compared to other archaean, bacterial and eukaryote proteomes. This has given insights into the origins and evolution of peptidase families, including an expansion in the number of proteasome components in Asgard archaeotes and as organisms increase in complexity. Novel structures for proteasome complexes in archaea are postulated.

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