Plants sense the presence of pathogens or pests through the recognition of evolutionarily conserved microbe- or herbivore-associated molecular patterns or specific pathogen effectors, as well as plant endogenous danger-associated molecular patterns. This sensory capacity is largely mediated through plasma membrane and cytosol-localized receptors which trigger complex downstream immune signaling cascades. As immune signaling outputs are often associated with a high fitness cost, precise regulation of this signaling is critical. Protease-mediated proteolysis represents an important form of pathway regulation in this context. Proteases have been widely implicated in plant–pathogen interactions, and their biochemical mechanisms and targets continue to be elucidated. During the plant and pathogen arms race, specific proteases are employed from both the plant and the pathogen sides to contribute to either defend or invade. Several pathogen effectors have been identified as proteases or protease inhibitors which act to functionally defend or camouflage the pathogens from plant proteases and immune receptors. In this review, we discuss known protease functions and protease-regulated signaling processes involved in both sides of plant–pathogen interactions.

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