Cysteine proteases in phytopathogenic bacteria: identification of plant targets and activation of innate immunity

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2004 Aug;7(4):384-90. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2004.05.003.


Phytopathogenic bacteria use the type-III secretion system (TTSS) to inject effector proteins into plant cells, presumably to colonize their hosts. The function of these proteins inside plant cells has remained a mystery for years. The recent discovery that the effectors XopD, AvrXv4, AvrPphB, and AvrRpt2 have cysteine protease functions reveals that the proteolysis of host substrates is an important strategy employed by pathogens to alter plant physiology. Moreover, the characterization of these proteases and their targets provides new insight to mechanisms of bacterial virulence and the activation of plant immunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / enzymology*
  • Bacteria / pathogenicity
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases / metabolism*
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Models, Biological
  • Plants / immunology
  • Plants / microbiology*
  • Virulence


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases