Photobiological properties of the inhibition of etiolated Arabidopsis seedling growth by ultraviolet-B irradiation

Gary Gardner, Chentao Lin, Elaine M. Tobin, Heather Loehrer, Doug Brinkman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Alteration of 'normal' levels of ultraviolet-B light (UV-B, 280-320 nm) can affect plant chemical composition as well as growth; however, little is known about how plants perceive UV-B light. We have carried out fluence response curves, and demonstrated that the growth inhibition of etiolated Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings by low fluence UV light is specific to UV-B and not UV-A (320-390 nm). The response shows reciprocity between duration and intensity, at least over a limited range, and thus depends only on photon fluence and not on photon flux. The action spectrum for this response indicates a peak of maximum effectiveness at 290 nm, and response spectra at different fluences indicate that the most effective wavelength at 30 000 μmol m-2 is 290 nm, whereas 300 nm light was the most effective at 100 000 μmol m-2. This response occurs in mutant seedlings deficient in cryptochrome, phytochrome or phototropin, suggesting that none of the known photoreceptors is the major UV-B photoreceptor. Some null mutants in DNA repair enzymes show hypersensitivity to UV-B, suggesting that even at low fluence rates, direct damage to DNA may be one component of the response to UV-B.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1573-1583
Number of pages11
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2009


  • Action spectrum
  • Arabidopsis
  • DNA repair
  • Fluence response
  • Growth inhibition
  • Hypocotyl elongation
  • Photoreceptor
  • Reciprocity
  • UV-B
  • Ultraviolet light

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