Medical Dictionary

Medical Dictionary

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A class of proteins that function as serine protease inhibitors. Examples of serpins are α1-antitrypsin and antithrombin III, which inhibit trypsin and thrombin, respectively. Another example of a serpin is the cowpox virus protein CrmA, which is actually a potent inhibitor of caspases, cysteine proteases that are effectors of apoptosis. Proteins that are homologous to serpins, but have no protease inhibitor function are ovalbumin, an egg white protein, and angiotensinogen, the precursor to the hormone angiotensin.

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