CRYSTAL STRUCTURE OF A SERPIN:PROTEASE COMPLEX
[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
The serpins have evolved to be the predominant family of serine-protease inhibitors in man. Their unique mechanism of inhibition involves a profound change in conformation, although the nature and significance of this change has been controversial. Here we report the crystallographic structure of a typical serpin-protease complex and show the mechanism of inhibition. The conformational change is initiated by reaction of the active serine of the protease with the reactive centre of the serpin. This cleaves the reactive centre, which then moves 71 A to the opposite pole of the serpin, taking the tethered protease with it. The tight linkage of the two molecules and resulting overlap of their structures does not affect the hyperstable serpin, but causes a surprising 37% loss of structure in the protease. This is induced by the plucking of the serine from its active site, together with breakage of interactions formed during zymogen activation. The disruption of the catalytic site prevents the release of the protease from the complex, and the structural disorder allows its proteolytic destruction. It is this ability of the conformational mechanism to crush as well as inhibit proteases that provides the serpins with their selective advantage.
Structure of a serpin-protease complex shows inhibition by deformation.,Huntington JA, Read RJ, Carrell RW Nature. 2000 Oct 19;407(6806):923-6. PMID:11057674
From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.