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Mutat Res. 2009 Mar-Jun;681(2-3):134-49. doi: 10.1016/j.mrrev.2008.06.004. Epub 2008 Jul 3.

Genotoxic stress in plants: shedding light on DNA damage, repair and DNA repair helicases.

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International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi 110067, India.


Plant cells are constantly exposed to environmental agents and endogenous processes that inflict damage to DNA and cause genotoxic stress, which can reduce plant genome stability, growth and productivity. Plants are most affected by solar UV-B radiation, which damage the DNA by inducing the formation of two main UV photoproducts such as cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs) and pyrimidine (6-4) pyrimidone photoproducts (6-4PPs). Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are also generated extra- or intra-cellularly, which constitute yet another source of genotoxic stress. As a result of this stress, the cellular DNA-damage responses (DDR) are activated, which transiently arrest the cell cycle and allow cells to repair DNA before proceeding into mitosis. DDR requires the activation of Ataxia telangiectasia-mutated (ATM) and Rad3-related (ATR) genes, which regulate the cell cycle and transmit the damage signals to downstream effectors of cell-cycle progression. Since genomic protection and stability are fundamental to ensure and sustain plant diversity and productivity, therefore, repair of DNA damages is essential. In plants the bulky DNA lesions, CPDs and 6-4PPs, are repaired by a simple and error-free mechanism: photoreactivation, which is a light-dependent mechanism and requires CPD or 6-4PP specific photolyases. In addition to this direct repair process, the plants also have sophisticated light-independent general repair mechanisms, such as the nucleotide excision repair (NER) and base excision repair (BER). The completed plant genome sequences reveal that most of the genes involved in NER and BER are present in higher plants, which suggests that the network of in-built DNA-damage repair mechanisms is conserved. This article describes the insight underlying the DNA damage and repair pathways in plants. The comet assay to measure the DNA damage and the role of DNA repair helicases such as XPD and XPB are also covered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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