Skip Navigation
Genetics Home Reference: your guide to understanding genetic conditions     A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine®

PRSS gene family

Reviewed October 2012

What are the PRSS genes?

The serine peptidases gene family provides instructions for making a group of enzymes known as peptidases. A peptidase is an enzyme that breaks down protein fragments, known as peptides, into their individual building blocks (amino acids). The peptide to be broken down is attached (bound) to the serine peptidase at a region of the enzyme known as the active site or substrate-binding site. Within this site in the enzyme structure is the amino acid serine, which is why these enzymes are classified as serine peptidases.

There are more than 150 serine peptidases in humans. Most of these enzymes are released from cells in a nonfunctional (inactive) state. The enzyme needs to be cut (cleaved) twice in order to be turned on (activated): once to cut off a region of the enzyme that guides its release from the cell and again to activate the enzyme.

Serine peptidases play a role in many of the body's functions, such as digestion, forming and breaking down blood clots, immune responses, wound healing, hormonal regulation, and reproduction. Mutations in serine peptidase genes are responsible for a wide range of disorders. Mutations in the serine peptidase gene PRSS1 cause a condition called hereditary pancreatitis, which is characterized by chronic inflammation of the pancreas and impairment of normal digestion. Mutations in the HTRA1 gene cause a condition called CARASIL, which affects intellectual function, hair growth, and the nervous system.

Which genes are included in the PRSS gene family?

The HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC) provides an index of gene families ( and their member genes.

Genetics Home Reference summarizes the normal function and health implications of these members of the PRSS gene family: HTRA1, MASP1, PRSS1, and TMPRSS6.

What conditions are related to genes in the PRSS gene family?

Genetics Home Reference includes these conditions related to genes in the PRSS gene family:

  • 3MC syndrome
  • age-related macular degeneration
  • cerebral autosomal recessive arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy
  • hereditary pancreatitis
  • iron-refractory iron deficiency anemia

Where can I find additional information about the PRSS gene family?

You may find the following resources about the PRSS gene family helpful.

  • Biochemistry (fifth edition, 2002): Serine is Part of a Catalytic Triad That Also Includes Histidine and Aspartic Acid (
  • Biochemistry (fifth edition, 2002): Many Enzymes Are Activated by Specific Proteolytic Cleavage (
  • The Cell: A Molecular Approach (second edition, 2000): Mechanisms of Enzymatic Catalysis (

What glossary definitions help with understanding the PRSS gene family?

acids ; active site ; amino acid ; catalytic ; cell ; chronic ; digestion ; enzyme ; gene ; hereditary ; inflammation ; nervous system ; pancreas ; pancreatitis ; peptide ; protease ; protein ; reproduction ; serine ; transmembrane

You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary.


These sources were used to develop the Genetics Home Reference summary for the PRSS gene family.

  • Yousef GM, Elliott MB, Kopolovic AD, Serry E, Diamandis EP. Sequence and evolutionary analysis of the human trypsin subfamily of serine peptidases. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2004 Apr 8;1698(1):77-86. (
  • Polgár L. The catalytic triad of serine peptidases. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2005 Oct;62(19-20):2161-72. Review. (
  • Ekici OD, Paetzel M, Dalbey RE. Unconventional serine proteases: variations on the catalytic Ser/His/Asp triad configuration. Protein Sci. 2008 Dec;17(12):2023-37. doi: 10.1110/ps.035436.108. Epub 2008 Sep 29. Review. (


The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified healthcare professional. See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? ( in the Handbook.

Reviewed: October 2012
Published: February 8, 2016