The diverse roles of plant proteases in defence responses that are triggered by pathogens or pests are becoming clearer. Some proteases, such as papain in latex, execute the attack on the invading organism. Other proteases seem to be part of a signalling cascade, as indicated by protease inhibitor studies. Such a role has also been suggested for the recently discovered metacaspases and CDR1. Some proteases, such as RCR3, even act in perceiving the invader. These exciting recent reports are probably just the first examples of what lies beneath. More roles for plant proteases in defence, as well as the regulation and substrates of these enzymes, are waiting to be discovered.