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Nature. 2000 Jul 6;406(6791):98-101.

Elevated UV-B radiation reduces genome stability in plants.

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  • 1Friedrich Miescher-Institut, Basel, Switzerland.


Long-term depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer contributes to an increase in terrestrial solar ultraviolet-B radiation. This has deleterious effects on living organisms, such as DNA damage. When exposed to elevated ultraviolet-B radiation (UV-B; 280-315 nm), plants display a wide variety of physiological and morphological responses characterized as acclimation and adaptation. Here we show, using special sun simulators, that elevated solar UV-B doses increase the frequency of somatic homologous DNA rearrangements in Arabidopsis and tobacco plants. Increases in recombination are accompanied by a strong induction of photolyase and Rad51 gene expression. These genes are putatively involved in major DNA repair pathways, photoreactivation and recombination repair. In mutant Arabidopsis plants that are deficient in photoreactivating ultraviolet-induced cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers, recombination under elevated UV-B regimes greatly exceeds wild-type levels. Our results show that homologous recombination repair pathways might be involved in eliminating UV-B-induced DNA lesions in plants. Thus, increases in terrestrial solar UV-B radiation as forecasted for the early 21st century may affect genome stability in plants.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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