Variations in constitutive and inducible UV-B tolerance; dissecting photosystem II protection in Arabidopsis thaliana accessions

M.A.K. Jansen, B. LeMartret, M. Koornneef

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The rise in ultraviolet-B (UV-B) (280–315 nm) radiation levels, that is a consequence of stratospheric ozone layer depletion, has triggered extensive research on the effects of UV-B on plants. Plants raised under natural sunlight conditions are generally well protected from the potentially harmful effects of UV-B radiation. However, it is mostly unknown to which extent UV protection is constitutive and/or induced. In this study, we have analysed the role of constitutive and inducible protection responses in avoiding UV-B damage to photosystem II of photosynthesis. We have assayed the UV susceptibility of photosystem II in 224 Arabidopsis thaliana accessions from across the Northern hemisphere, and found a continuum of constitutive UV-protection levels, with some accessions being UV sensitive and others UV tolerant. Statistical analysis showed only very weak associations between constitutive UV tolerance and the geographic origin of accessions. Instead, most of the variance in constitutive UV-B protection of photosynthesis is present at the level of local Arabidopsis populations originating in the same geographic and climatic area. The variance in constitutive UV protection is, however, small compared to the amplitude of environmentally induced changes in UV protection. Thus, our data emphasise the importance of inducible responses for the protection of photosystem II against UV-B. Remarkably, the conditions that induce UV-protective responses vary; accessions from lower latitudes were found to switch-on UV defences more readily than those of higher latitudes. Such altered regulation of induction may comprise a suitable adaptation response when levels of a stressor are fluctuating in the short term, but predictable over longer periods
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-34
JournalPhysiologia Plantarum
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • ultraviolet-radiation
  • genetic-variation
  • chlorophyll fluorescence
  • terrestrial ecosystems
  • balancing damage
  • higher-plants
  • responses
  • stress
  • expression
  • light


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