Immune Function α2-Macroglobulin in Invertebrates

  • P. B. Armstrong
  • J. P. Quigley
Part of the Progress in Molecular and Subcellular Biology book series (PMSB, volume 15)


Proteases play important roles in a variety of immune processes, including blood clotting and clot resolution (Furie and Furie 1992), complement activation (Reid and Porter 1981), inflammation (Cohn 1975; Haverman and Janoff 1978), and tissue remodeling (Werb 1993). Additionally, proteases contribute to a variety of pathological conditions such as tumor dissemination (Testa and Quigley 1990) and a variety of degenerative connective tissue diseases (Perlmutter and Pierce 1989). Proteases, whether of endogenous or of exogenous origin, have the potential for serious destructive effects on the surrounding tissues after their release into the tissue spaces. A variety of connective tissue disorders are directly traceable to the activities of proteases present in the wrong places and at the wrong times. Additionally, proteases are important agents facilitating the invasion of parasites (McKerrow et al. 1991; Breton et al. 1992). In response to this, higher animals have evolved a variety of protease inhibitors in the blood that limit the activities of the proteases of endogenous immune processes and the exogenous proteases of microbes and multicellular parasites. Circulating protease inhibitors are of two basic types; inhibitors that complex with and inhibit the active site of the target protease (Laskowski and Kato 1980; Travis and Salvesen 1983) and inhibitors of the α2-macroglobulin family, which leave the active site intact and instead enfold the target protease to block its interaction with protein substrates (Starkey and Barrett 1977). Proteases bound to α2-macroglobulin retain the ability to hydrolyze small amide and ester substrates (Barrett and Starkey 1973) but have lost the ability to hydrolyze proteins.


Hemolytic Activity Horseshoe Crab Thiol Ester Invertebr Pathol Glutamyl Residue 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. B. Armstrong
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. P. Quigley
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Molecular and Cellular BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  2. 2.Marine Biological LaboratoryWoods HoleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Pathology, Health Sciences CenterState University of New YorkStony BrookUSA

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