The under-appreciated world of the serpin family of serine proteinase inhibitors

EMBO Mol Med. 2023 Jun 7;15(6):e17144. doi: 10.15252/emmm.202217144. Epub 2023 May 9.


In the practice of medicine, many fundamental biological pathways that require tight on/off control, such as inflammation and circulatory homeostasis, are regulated by serine proteinases, but we rarely consider the unique protease inhibitors that, in turn, regulate these proteases. The serpins are a family of proteins with a shared tertiary structure, whose members largely act as serine protease inhibitors, found in all forms of life, ranging from viruses, bacteria, and archaea to plants and animals. These proteins represent up to 2-10% of proteins in the human blood and are the third most common protein family.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Serine Proteases / metabolism
  • Serine Proteinase Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Serine Proteinase Inhibitors / metabolism
  • Serine Proteinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Serpins* / chemistry
  • Serpins* / genetics
  • Serpins* / metabolism


  • Serpins
  • Serine Proteinase Inhibitors
  • Serine Proteases