Proteases are enzymes that hydrolyze peptide bonds between aminoacids in proteins leading to protein cleavage. Their omnipresence and diverse activities make them important players in protein homeostasis and signal transduction in plant stress responses and development. To understand protease function, it is paramount to assess when and where a specific protease is active and which substrates are cleaved. Our lab uses the plant METACASPASES, distant relatives of the metazoan caspases, as model proteases for the functional analysis of proteases.

Among other methods, the Van Breusegem lab produces fluorescent probes to detect and visualize in vivo protease activity (Fernández Fernández, Álvaro Daniel, et al. 2019)