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Photosynth Res. 1994 Mar;39(3):475-89. doi: 10.1007/BF00014600.

UV-B damage and protection at the molecular level in plants.

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CSIRO Division of Plant Industry and Cooperative Research Centre for Plant Science, GPO Box 1600, 2601, Canberra, ACT, Australia.


Influx of solar UV-B radiation (280-320 nm) will probably increase in the future due to depletion of stratospheric ozone. In plants, there are several targets for the deleterious UV-B radiation, especially the chloroplast. This review summarizes the early effects and responses of low doses of UV-B at the molecular level. The DNA molecules of the plant cells are damaged by UV due to the formation of different photoproducts, such as pyrimidine dimers, which in turn can be combatted by specialized photoreactivating enzyme systems. In the chloroplast, the integrity of the thylakoid membrane seems to be much more sensitive than the activities of the photosynthetic components bound within. However, the decrease of mRNA transcripts for the photosynthetic complexes and other chloroplast proteins are among very early events of UV-B damage, as well as protein synthesis. Other genes, encoding defence-related enzymes, e.g., of the flavonoid biosynthetic pathway, are rapidly up-regulated after commencement of UV-B exposure. Some of the cis-acting nucleotide elements and trans-acting protein factors needed to regulate the UV-induced expression of the parsley chalcone synthase gene are known.


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