Lamps that emit 222 nm short-wavelength ultraviolet (UV) radiation can be safely used for sterilization without harming human health. However, there are few studies on the effects of 222 nm UVC (222-UVC) radiation exposure on plants compared with the effects of germicidal lamps emitting primarily 254 nm UVC (254-UVC) radiation. We investigated the growth inhibition and cell damage caused by 222-UVC exposure to Arabidopsis plants, especially mitochondrial dynamics, which is an index of damage caused by UVB radiation. Growth inhibition resulted from 254-UVC or 222-UVC exposure depending on the dose of UVC radiation. However, with respect to the phenotype of 222-UVC-irradiated plants, the leaves curled under 1 kJ m−2 and were markedly bleached under 10 kJ m−2 compared with those of plants irradiated with 254-UVC. The cellular state, especially the mitochondrial dynamics, of epidermal and mesophyll cells of Arabidopsis leaves exposed to 254-UVC or 222-UVC radiation was investigated using Arabidopsis plants expressing mitochondrial matrix-targeted yellow fluorescent protein (MT-YFP) under the control of Pro35S to visualize the mitochondria. 222-UVC (1 or 5 kJ m−2) severely damaged the guard cells within the epidermis, and YFP signals and chloroplast autofluorescence in guard cells within the epidermis exposed to 222-UVC (1 or 5 kJ m−2) were not detected compared with those in cells exposed to 254-UVC radiation. In addition, 222-UVC irradiation led to mitochondrial fragmentation in mesophyll cells, similar to the effects of 254-UVC exposure. These results suggest that 222-UVC severely damages guard cells and epidermal cells and that such damage might have resulted in growth inhibition.
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