After three successful conferences on Plant Proteases and Programmed Cell Death organized in Hemavan, Sweden (2011); Barcelona, Spain (2013); and Oxford, UK (2016), it is our pleasure to host the fourth meeting in the beautiful medieval town of Ghent, Belgium.
The roles of proteases in cell death, immunity, and developmental processes in plants have received increasing attention over the past years. On the one hand, proteases exert a key regulatory level of posttranslational modification on their substrates. On the other hand, proteolytic cascades are involved in household functions, as well as responsible for point-of-no-return decisions during developmentally or environmentally controlled programmed cell death. Despite their importance, however, we still know little about the functions and mode-of-actions of individual plant proteases. Over the past years, several research groups have tackled the functional characterization of plant proteases from different angles. Some laboratories are advancing technology development, others focus on biological processes that depend on protease activities, while again others elucidate the biochemistry of specific protease families. The aim of our meeting is to bring researchers of these different research directions together to discuss the latest developments and concepts in the field of plant proteases and programmed cell death.