Accumulation of endogenous peptides triggers a pathogen stress response in Arabidopsis thaliana
The stepwise degradation of peptides to amino acids in plant mitochondria and chloroplasts is catalyzed by a network of oligopeptidases (presequence protease PreP, organellar oligopeptidase OOP) and aminopeptidases. In the present report, we show that the lack of oligopeptidase activity in Arabidopsis thaliana results in the accumulation of endogenous free peptides, mostly of chloroplastic origin (targeting peptides and degradation products). Using mRNA sequencing and deep coverage proteomics, allowing for the identification of 17 000 transcripts and 11 000 proteins, respectively, we uncover a peptide‐stress response occurring in plants lacking PreP and OOP oligopeptidase activity. The peptide‐stress response results in the activation of the classical plant defense pathways in the absence of pathogenic challenge. The constitutive activation of the pathogen‐defense pathways imposes a strong growth penalty and a reduction of the plants reproductive fitness. Our results indicate that the absence of organellar oligopeptidases PreP1/2 and OOP results in the accumulation of peptides that are perceived as pathogenic effectors and activate the signaling pathways of plant‐defense response.
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