UV Radiation and Its Impact on Plant Genome: Insights and Mechanisms

UV Radiation and Its Impact on Plant Genome

Plants, as primary producers, rely on solar energy for photosynthesis, a vital process for their survival and growth. However, the UV component of solar radiation can impair genome stability in plants by creating DNA lesions known as UV photoproducts. These lesions hinder the activity of polymerases during transcription and DNA replication, thereby affecting plant growth and development. Thus, understanding the mechanisms of DNA repair in plants is essential in maintaining their genomic stability.

Types of UV Photoproducts and DNA Repair Mechanisms

Two major types of UV photoproducts, CPDs and (6-4)PPs, represent 80% and 20% of the total DNA lesions induced by UV exposure, respectively. These UV photoproducts can be repaired through two primary mechanisms – photoreactivation and nucleotide excision repair. While the repair of CPDs has been extensively studied, there is still a need for comprehensive knowledge regarding the genome-wide dynamics of (6-4)PP repair in plants.

Insights from XR-seq Method

The excision repair-sequencing (XR-seq) method offers a powerful tool for generating a genome-wide profile of excision repair, providing precise information on the repair of specific DNA lesions at single-nucleotide resolution. A study on Arabidopsis seedlings using XR-seq revealed that (6-4)PPs can be repaired by transcription-coupled repair (TCR) and exhibited distinct repair peaks at the promoter, transcription start site (TSS), and transcription end site (TES) of genes. Interestingly, the rate of (6-4)PP repair was found to be influenced by the chromatin state, with more efficient repair in open chromatin regions compared to regions associated with heterochromatin.

Role of DNAs Repair in Plant Development and Crop Productivity

Effective DNA repair mechanisms are crucial in response to genotoxic stress. It is observed that DNA damage can impact plant development and crop productivity, emphasizing the importance of maintaining genome stability. Studies have also highlighted the role of microRNAs and various proteins, such as RETINOBLASTOMA RELATED protein and NAC044, in guiding DNA damage response and coordinating cell fate decisions, further elucidating the complex and multi-faceted nature of DNA repair mechanisms in plants.

Adaptation to Radiation and DNA Repair Systems

Plants have evolved adaptive reactions to survive in changeable environments, including adaptation to ionizing radiation. Chronic exposure to radiation can enhance radioresistance at the population level, with ecological mechanisms playing a role in transforming relationships within biological communities due to differences in radiosensitivity of species. Interestingly, plants exhibit a higher level of redundancy of DNA repair systems compared to animals, contributing to their increased radioresistance.


In conclusion, plants possess a robust and intricate network of DNA repair mechanisms that play a vital role in maintaining genomic stability and ensuring survival against environmental stresses. As our understanding of these mechanisms continues to grow, it opens up new possibilities for enhancing plant health and crop productivity, thus contributing to sustainable agriculture. Further research is needed to fully understand the genome-wide dynamics of DNA repair, especially of (6-4)PPs, in plants.

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