Protease Nexin-1 in Reproductive Tissues: a Review

Christopher A Price


The Serpins comprise a family of proteins that bind irreversibly to and inactivate serine proteases such as thrombin and plasminogen activators. This review summarizes the current knowledge of one Serpin, SerpinE2 (also known as protease nexin-1, PN-1) in the reproductive system. By virtue of the ability to regulate the activity of secreted proteases, PN-1 is most likely involved in tissue remodeling and extracellular matrix formation and degradation. Accordingly, PN-1 is expressed in the developing hypothalamus and testis, both sites of significant cell migration. PN-1 is also upregulated during tissue remodeling in the ovarian follicle (at ovulation) and in the placenta during implantation, and downregulated in the mammary gland during pregnancy and lactation. PN-1 has been shown to be essential for formation of the copulatory plug in rodents. The physiological role of PN-1 is not clear, but given the fairly widespread expression of this protein in reproductive tissues, this protein clearly deserves greater attention from reproductive biologists.

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