Phytaspase, a relocalisable cell death promoting plant protease with caspase specificity

Nina V. Chichkova, Jane Shaw, Raisa A. Galiullina, Georgina E. Drury, Alexander I. Tuzhikov, Sang Hyon Kim, Markus Kalkum, Teresa B. Hong, Elena N. Gorshkova, Lesley Torrance, Andrey B. Vartapetian, Michael Taliansky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Caspases are cysteine-dependent proteases and are important components of animal apoptosis. They introduce specific breaks after aspartate residues in a number of cellular proteins mediating programmed cell death (PCD). Plants encode only distant homologues of caspases, the metacaspases that are involved in PCD, but do not possess caspase-specific proteolytic activity. Nevertheless, plants do display caspase-like activities indicating that enzymes structurally distinct from classical caspases may operate as caspase-like proteases. Here, we report the identification and characterisation of a novel PCD-related subtilisin-like protease from tobacco and rice named phytaspase (plant aspartate-specific protease) that possesses caspase specificity distinct from that of other known caspase-like proteases. We provide evidence that phytaspase is synthesised as a proenzyme, which is autocatalytically processed to generate the mature enzyme. Overexpression and silencing of the phytaspase gene showed that phytaspase is essential for PCD-related responses to tobacco mosaic virus and abiotic stresses. Phytaspase is constitutively secreted into the apoplast before PCD, but unexpectedly is re-imported into the cell during PCD providing insights into how phytaspase operates. The EMBO Journal (2010) 29, 1149-1161. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2010.1; Published online 28 January 2010

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1149-1161
Number of pages13
JournalEMBO Journal
Volume29
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2010

Keywords

  • abiotic stress
  • caspases
  • programmed cell death
  • subtilisin-like proteases
  • tobacco mosaic virus
  • VACUOLAR PROCESSING ENZYME
  • HYPERSENSITIVE RESPONSE
  • ARABIDOPSIS-THALIANA
  • ABIOTIC STRESS
  • GENE
  • TOBACCO
  • VIRUS
  • ACTIVATION
  • VPE
  • MECHANISMS

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