Sensitivity of rice to ultraviolet-B radiation

Jun Hidema, Tadashi Kumagai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer leads to an increase in ultraviolet-B (UVB: 280-320 nm) radiation reaching the earth's surface, and the enhanced solar UVB radiation predicted by atmospheric models will result in reduction of growth and yield of crops in the future. Over the last two decades, extensive studies of the physiological, biochemical and morphological effects of UVB in plants, as well as the mechanisms of UVB resistance, have been carried out. Scope: In this review, we describe recent research into the mechanisms of UVB resistance in higher plants, with an emphasis on rice (Oryza sativa), one of the world's most important staple food crops. Recent studies have brought to light the following remarkable findings. UV-absorbing compounds accumulating in the epidermal cell layers have traditionally been considered to function as UV filters, and to play an important role in countering the damaging effects of UVB radiation. Although these compounds are effective in reducing cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer (CPD) induction in plants exposed to a challenge exposure to UVB, certain levels of CPD are maintained constitutively in light conditions containing UVB, regardless of the quantity or presence of visible light. These findings imply that the systems for repairing DNA damage and scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS) are essential for plants to grow in light conditions containing UVB. Conclusion: CPD photolyase activity is a crucial factor determining the differences in UVB sensitivity between rice cultivars. The substitution of one or two bases in the CPD photolyase gene can alter the activity of the enzyme, and the associated resistance of the plant to UVB radiation. These findings open up the possibility, in the near future, of increasing the resistance of rice to UVB radiation, by selective breeding or bioengineering of the genes encoding CPD photolyase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)933-942
Number of pages10
JournalHandbook of Environmental Chemistry, Volume 5: Water Pollution
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioengineering
  • CPD photolyase
  • Cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer (CPD)
  • Dark repair
  • Photorepair
  • Reactive oxygen species (ROS)
  • Rice (Oryza sativa)
  • UV-absorbing compounds
  • UVB resistance
  • UVB sensitivity
  • Ultraviolet-B radiation (UVB: 280-320 nm)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture
  • Plant Science


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