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Planta

, Volume 220, Issue 2, pp 183–197 | Cite as

A cut above the rest: the regulatory function of plant proteases

  • Andreas Schaller
Review

Abstract

Proteolytic enzymes are intricately involved in many aspects of plant physiology and development. On the one hand, they are necessary for protein turnover. Degradation of damaged, misfolded and potentially harmful proteins provides free amino acids required for the synthesis of new proteins. Furthermore, the selective breakdown of regulatory proteins by the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway controls key aspects of plant growth, development, and defense. Proteases are, on the other hand, also responsible for the post-translational modification of proteins by limited proteolysis at highly specific sites. Limited proteolysis results in the maturation of enzymes, is necessary for protein assembly and subcellular targeting, and controls the activity of enzymes, regulatory proteins and peptides. Proteases are thus involved in all aspects of the plant life cycle ranging from the mobilization of storage proteins during seed germination to the initiation of cell death and senescence programs. This article reviews recent findings for the major catalytic classes, i.e. the serine, cysteine, aspartic, and metalloproteases, emphasizing the regulatory function of representative enzymes.

Keywords

Aspartic protease Cysteine Serine Metalloprotease Proteolysis Regulation of plant development 

Abbreviations

ale1

Abnormal leaf shape 1

AP

Aspartic protease

cdr1

Constitutive disease resistance 1

CYS-EP

Cysteine endopeptidase

LAP

Leucine aminopeptidase

PCD

Programmed cell death

PSV

Protein storage vacuole

SCP

Serine carboxypeptidase

sdd1

Stomatal density and distribution 1

SH-EP

Sulfhydryl endopeptidase

SLD

Saposin-like domain

SPP

Stromal processing peptidase

VPE

Vacuolar processing enzyme

Zn-MP

Zinc metalloprotease

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© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Plant Physiology and Biotechnology (260)University of HohenheimStuttgartGermany

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