What are peptidases and why do they need a database?

Peptidases are enzymes that hydrolyse peptide bonds. They are necessary for the survival of all living creatures, and they are encoded by about 2% of genes in all kinds of organisms. It has been estimated that 14% of the five hundred human peptidases are under investigation as drug targets. Peptidases are thus an exceptionally important group of enzymes in biology, medical research and biotechnology. Since the regulation of the activities of peptidases is obviously crucial, the hundreds of proteins that inhibit them are equally relevant.

Peptidases and their inhibitors represent a hot-spot of scientific research on which thousands of scientists are working worldwide in academia and industry. The MEROPS database is a comprehensive, integrated resource that provides all who work in the field with core information. A particular strength is the hierarchical system of classification of peptidases and inhibitors that MEROPS provides.