Q&A: How do plants sense and respond to UV-B radiation?

BMC Biol. 2015 Jun 30:13:45. doi: 10.1186/s12915-015-0156-y.


Plants are able to sense UV-B through the UV-B photoreceptor UVR8. UV-B photon absorption by a UVR8 homodimer leads to UVR8 monomerization and interaction with the downstream signaling factor COP1. This then initiates changes in gene expression, which lead to several metabolic and morphological alterations. A major response is the activation of mechanisms associated with UV-B acclimation and UV-B tolerance, including biosynthesis of sunscreen metabolites, antioxidants and DNA repair enzymes. To balance the response, UVR8 is inactivated by regulated re-dimerization. Apart from their importance for plants, UVR8 and its interacting protein COP1 have already proved useful for the optogenetic toolkit used to engineer synthetic light-dependent responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization / radiation effects
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism*
  • DNA Repair / radiation effects
  • Plants / metabolism
  • Plants / radiation effects*
  • Signal Transduction / radiation effects
  • Ultraviolet Rays*


  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone