, Volume 66, Issue 7, pp 703-714

Proteinase Inhibitors from the Medicinal Leech Hirudo medicinalis

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The medicinal leech Hirudo medicinalis produces various types of proteinase inhibitors: bdellins (inhibitors of trypsin, plasmin, and acrosin), hirustasin (inhibitor of tissue kallikrein, trypsin, α-chymotrypsin, and granulocyte cathepsin G), tryptase inhibitor, eglins (inhibitors of α-chymotrypsin, subtilisin, and chymasin and the granulocyte proteinases elastase and cathepsin G), inhibitor of factor Xa, hirudin (thrombin inhibitor), inhibitor of carboxypeptidase, and inhibitor of complement component C1s. This review summarizes data on their primary and tertiary structures, action mechanisms, and biological activities.