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Rhomboids are intramembrane serine proteases that cleave the transmembrane helices of substrate proteins, typically releasing luminal/extracellular domains from the membrane. They are conserved in all branches of life and there is a growing recognition of their association with a wide range of human diseases. Human rhomboids, for example, have been implicated in cancer, metabolic disease and neurodegeneration, while rhomboids in apicomplexan parasites appear to contribute to their invasion of host cells. Recent advances in our knowledge of the structure and the enzyme function of rhomboids, and increasing efforts to identify specific inhibitors, are beginning to provide important insight into the prospect of rhomboids becoming future therapeutic targets. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Proteolysis as a Regulatory Event in Pathophysiology edited by Stefan Rose-John.

Original publication




Journal article


Biochim Biophys Acta

Publication Date





2200 - 2209


Disease, Enzyme, Protease, Rhomboid, Structure, Humans, Metabolic Diseases, Molecular Targeted Therapy, Neoplasms, Nerve Degeneration, Phylogeny, Proteolysis, Serine Proteases, Substrate Specificity