Acta Physiologiae Plantarum

, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 391–398

Caspase-like proteases and their role in programmed cell death in plants


DOI: 10.1007/s11738-007-0086-6

Cite this article as:
Piszczek, E. & Gutman, W. Acta Physiol Plant (2007) 29: 391. doi:10.1007/s11738-007-0086-6


The investigations performed over recent few years have proved the existence of caspase-like proteases in plants. Three groups of caspase-like proteases: metacaspases, legumain family proteases (VPEs) and saspases have been identified and characterized in plants so far. A considerable amount of evidence supports the role of these enzymes in programmed cell death (PCD) occurring during plant development, their organ senescence as well as hypersensitive response (HR) after pathogen attack. Current knowledge of these enzyme molecular and biochemical structures is summarized in the paper. The homology of caspase-like proteases to animal caspases has been also indicated. Some future perspectives of research concerning the signal pathway during PCD, the regulation of activity and mode of action of these proteases are presented in the article.


Caspase-like proteasesMetacaspasesVacuolar processing enzymes (VPEs)SaspasesProgrammed cell death (PCD)

Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryAgricultural University of Warsaw (SGGW)WarsawPoland