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Review article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Mechanisms controlling plant proteases and their substrates

Fernandez-Fernandez, Alvaro Daniel; Stael, Simon; Van Breusegem, Frank


In plants, proteolysis is emerging as an important field of study due to a growing understanding of the critical involvement of proteases in plant cell death, disease and development. Because proteases irreversibly modify the structure and function of their target substrates, proteolytic activities are stringently regulated at multiple levels. Most proteases are produced as dormant isoforms and only activated in specific conditions such as altered ion fluxes or by post-translational modifications. Some of the regulatory mechanisms initiating and modulating proteolytic activities are restricted in time and space, thereby ensuring precision activity, and minimizing unwanted side effects. Currently, the activation mechanisms and the substrates of only a few plant proteases have been studied in detail. Most studies focus on the role of proteases in pathogen perception and subsequent modulation of the plant reactions, including the hypersensitive response (HR). Proteases are also required for the maturation of coexpressed peptide hormones that lead essential processes within the immune response and development. Here, we review the known mechanisms for the activation of plant proteases, including post-translational modifications, together with the effects of proteinaceous inhibitors.

Published in

Cell Death and Differentiation
2023, Volume: 30, number: 4, pages: 1047-1058

    Associated SLU-program

    SLU Plant Protection Network

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)