Received April 26, 2017; Revision received January 18, 2018
UVB radiation (290-320 nm) causes diverse effects in plant cells that vary with the fluence rate of exposure. High fluence rates of UVB radiation cause damage to DNA and formation of reactive oxygen species in mitochondria and chloroplasts, which lead to oxidation of membrane proteins and lipids and inhibition of cellular functions. In response to oxidative stress, mitochondrial transmembrane potential dissipates, resulting in cytochrome c release and activation of metacaspases. This leads to the apoptosis-like cell death. The signaling mechanism based on UVB DNA damage includes checkpoint activation, cell-cycle arrest, and finally programmed cell death with characteristic DNA fragmentation and morphological hallmarks typical of apoptotic cells. Recently, it was shown that among the components of this signaling mechanism the transcriptional factor SOG1 (suppressor of gamma response 1) plays a key role in regulation of programmed cell death in plants. In contrast to its damaging effects, UVB radiation at low fluence rates can act as a regulatory signal that is specifically perceived by plants to promote acclimation and survival in sunlight. The protective action of UVB is based on expression of various genes, including those encoding flavonoid synthesis enzymes that provide a UVB-absorbing sunscreen in epidermal tissues and DNA photorepair enzymes. These processes are mediated by the UVB photoreceptor UVR8, which has been recently characterized at the molecular level. Now progress is made in uncovering the UVR8-mediated signaling pathway mechanism in the context of UVB photon perception and revealing the biochemical components of the early stages of light signal transduction. In this review, attention is focused on the achievements in studying these UVB-induced signaling processes.
KEY WORDS: UVB radiation, signaling mechanisms, plants, cell death, photoprotection