Defining the Protease and Protease Inhibitor (P/PI) Proteomes of Healthy and Diseased Human Skin by Modified Systematic Review

Callum Stewart-Mcguinness, Christopher Platt (Corresponding), Matiss Ozols, Brian Goh, Tamara W. Griffiths, Michael Sherratt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Proteases and protease inhibitors (P/PIs) are involved in many biological processes in human skin, yet often only specific families or related groups of P/PIs are investigated. Proteomics approaches, such as mass spectrometry, can define proteome signatures (including P/PIs) in tissues; however, they struggle to detect low-abundance proteins. To overcome these issues, we aimed to produce a comprehensive proteome of all P/PIs present in normal and diseased human skin, in vivo, by carrying out a modified systematic review using a list of P/PIs from MEROPS and combining this with key search terms in Web of Science. Resulting articles were manually reviewed against inclusion/exclusion criteria and a dataset constructed. This study identified 111 proteases and 77 protease inhibitors in human skin, comprising the serine, metallo-, cysteine and aspartic acid catalytic families of proteases. P/PIs showing no evidence of catalytic activity or protease inhibition, were designated non-peptidase homologs (NPH), and no reported protease inhibitory activity (NRPIA), respectively. MMP9 and TIMP1 were the most frequently published P/PIs and were reported in normal skin and most skin disease groups. Normal skin and diseased skin showed significant overlap with respect to P/PI profile; however, MMP23 was identified in several skin disease groups, but was absent in normal skin. The catalytic profile of P/PIs in wounds, scars and solar elastosis was distinct from normal skin, suggesting that a different group of P/PIs is responsible for disease progression. In conclusion, this study uses a novel approach to provide a comprehensive inventory of P/PIs in normal and diseased human skin reported in our database. The database may be used to determine either which P/PIs are present in specific diseases or which diseases individual P/PIs may influence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number475
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2022


  • Human
  • Protease
  • Protease inhibitor
  • Proteome
  • Skin


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