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Plant Mol Biol. 2000 Oct;44(3):399-415.

Plant proteolytic enzymes: possible roles during programmed cell death.

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Department of Horticulture, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg 24061, USA.


Proteolytic enzymes are known to be associated with developmentally programmed cell death during organ senescence and tracheary element differentiation. Recent evidence also links proteinases with some types of pathogen- and stress-induced cell suicide. The precise roles of proteinases in these and other plant programmed cell death processes are not understood, however. To provide a framework for consideration of the importance of proteinases during plant cell suicide, characteristics of the best-known proteinases from plants including subtilisin-type and papain-type enzymes, phytepsins, metalloproteinases and the 26S proteasome are summarized. Examples of serine, cysteine, aspartic, metallo- and threonine proteinases linked to animal programmed cell death are cited and the potential for plant proteinases to act as mediators of signal transduction and as effectors of programmed cell death is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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