Serpins and Regulation of Cell Death

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Among the several classes of protease inhibitors are the serine proteinase inhibitors, or serpins (for recent reviews see Potempa et al. 1994; Stein and Carrell 1995; Carrell and Stein 1996). This type of inhibitor functions by acting as a pseudosubstrate for its target proteinase and trapping it in an essentially irreversible 1:1 complex.