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Plant Physiol. 2000 Jan;122(1):117-26.

Functional significance and induction by solar radiation of ultraviolet-absorbing sunscreens in field-grown soybean crops.

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  • 1Agricultural Plant Physiology and Ecology Research Institute (IFEVA), University of Buenos Aires and Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Cient¿ificas y T¿ecnicas, Avenida San Mart¿in 4453, 1417 Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Colorless phenylpropanoid derivatives are known to protect plants from ultraviolet (UV) radiation, but their photoregulation and physiological roles under field conditions have not been investigated in detail. Here we describe a fast method to estimate the degree of UV penetration into photosynthetic tissue, which is based on chlorophyll fluorescence imaging. In Arabidopsis this technique clearly separated the UV-hypersensitive transparent testa (tt) tt5 and tt6 mutants from the wild type (WT) and tt3, tt4, and tt7 mutants. In field-grown soybean (Glycine max), we found significant differences in UV penetration among cultivars with different levels of leaf phenolics, and between plants grown under contrasting levels of solar UV-B. The reduction in UV penetration induced by ambient UV-B had direct implications for DNA integrity in the underlying leaf tissue; thus, the number of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers caused by a short exposure to solar UV-B was much larger in leaves with high UV transmittance than in leaves pretreated with solar UV-B to increase the content phenylpropanoids. Most of the phenylpropanoid response to solar UV in field-grown soybeans was induced by the UV-B component (lambda </= 315 nm). Our results indicate that phenolic sunscreens in soybean are highly responsive to the wavelengths that are most affected by variations in ozone levels, and that they play an important role in UV protection in the field.

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