[A1AT_HUMAN] Defects in SERPINA1 are the cause of alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency (A1ATD) [MIM:613490]. A disorder whose most common manifestation is emphysema, which becomes evident by the third to fourth decade. A less common manifestation of the deficiency is liver disease, which occurs in children and adults, and may result in cirrhosis and liver failure. Environmental factors, particularly cigarette smoking, greatly increase the risk of emphysema at an earlier age.  
[A1AT_HUMAN] Inhibitor of serine proteases. Its primary target is elastase, but it also has a moderate affinity for plasmin and thrombin. Irreversibly inhibits trypsin, chymotrypsin and plasminogen activator. The aberrant form inhibits insulin-induced NO synthesis in platelets, decreases coagulation time and has proteolytic activity against insulin and plasmin.[:]  Short peptide from AAT: reversible chymotrypsin inhibitor. It also inhibits elastase, but not trypsin. Its major physiological function is the protection of the lower respiratory tract against proteolytic destruction by human leukocyte elastase (HLE).[:] 
Publication Abstract from PubMed
BACKGROUND: The protein alpha1-antitrypsin is a prototype member of the serpin (serine protease inhibitor) family and is known to inhibit the activity of neutrophil elastase in the lower respiratory tract. Members of this family undergo a large structural rearrangement upon binding to a target protease, involving cleavage of the reactive-site loop. This loop is then inserted into the main body of the enzyme following the opening of a central beta sheet, leading to stabilization of the structure. Random mutageneses of alpha1-antitrypsin identified various mutations that stabilize the native structure and retard the insertion of the reactive-site loop. Structural studies of these mutations may reveal the mechanism of the conformational change. RESULTS: We have determined the three-dimensional structure of an uncleaved alpha1-antitrypsin with seven such stabilizing mutations (hepta alpha1-antitrypsin) at 2.7 A resolution. From the comparison of the structure with other serpin structures, we found that hepta alpha1-antitrypsin is stabilized due to the release of various strains that exist in native wild type alpha1-antitrypsin, including unfavorable hydrophobic interactions in the central hydrophobic core. The reactive-site loop of hepta alpha1-antitrypsin is an extended strand, different from that of the previously determined structure of another uncleaved alpha1-antitrypsin, and indicates the inherent flexibility of the loop. CONCLUSIONS: The present structural study suggests that the uncleaved alpha1-antitrypsin has many folding defects which can be improved by mutations. These folding defects seem to be utilized in a coordinated fashion in the regulation of the conformational switch of alpha1-antitrypsin. Some of the defects, represented by the Phe51 region and possibly the Met374 and the Thr59 regions, are part of the sheet-opening mechanism.
The native strains in the hydrophobic core and flexible reactive loop of a serine protease inhibitor: crystal structure of an uncleaved alpha1-antitrypsin at 2.7 A.,Ryu SE, Choi HJ, Kwon KS, Lee KN, Yu MH Structure. 1996 Oct 15;4(10):1181-92. PMID:8939743
From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.