Structural insights into the multiple functions of protein C inhibitor
- 131 Downloads
Protein C inhibitor (PCI) is a widely distributed, multifunctional member of the serpin family of protease inhibitors, and has been implicated in several physiological processes and disease states. Its inhibitory activity and specificity are regulated by binding to cofactors such as heparin, thrombomodulin and phospholipids, and it also appears to have non-inhibitory functions related to hormone and lipid binding. Just how the highly conserved serpin architecture can support the multiple diverse functions of PCI is a riddle best addressed by protein crystallography. Over the last few years we have solved the structure of PCI in its native, cleaved and protein-complexed states. They reveal a conserved serpin fold and general mechanism of protease inhibition, but with some unique features relating to inhibitory specificity/promiscuity, cofactor binding and hydrophobic ligand transport.