The photoreceptor UVR8 mediates the perception of both UV-B and UV-A wavelengths up to 350 nm of sunlight with responsivity moderated by cryptochromes

Plant Cell Environ. 2020 Jun;43(6):1513-1527. doi: 10.1111/pce.13752. Epub 2020 Mar 24.


The photoreceptors UV RESISTANCE LOCUS 8 (UVR8) and CRYPTOCHROMES 1 and 2 (CRYs) play major roles in the perception of UV-B (280-315 nm) and UV-A/blue radiation (315-500 nm), respectively. However, it is poorly understood how they function in sunlight. The roles of UVR8 and CRYs were assessed in a factorial experiment with Arabidopsis thaliana wild-type and photoreceptor mutants exposed to sunlight for 6 or 12 hr under five types of filters with cut-offs in UV and blue-light regions. Transcriptome-wide responses triggered by UV-B and UV-A wavelengths shorter than 350 nm (UV-Asw ) required UVR8 whereas those induced by blue and UV-A wavelengths longer than 350 nm (UV-Alw ) required CRYs. UVR8 modulated gene expression in response to blue light while lack of CRYs drastically enhanced gene expression in response to UV-B and UV-Asw . These results agree with our estimates of photons absorbed by these photoreceptors in sunlight and with in vitro monomerization of UVR8 by wavelengths up to 335 nm. Motif enrichment analysis predicted complex signaling downstream of UVR8 and CRYs. Our results highlight that it is important to use UV waveband definitions specific to plants' photomorphogenesis as is routinely done in the visible region.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; UVR8; blue light; cryptochrome; gene expression; photoreceptor interaction; solar radiation; ultraviolet radiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis / radiation effects*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism*
  • Cryptochromes / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Nicotiana / metabolism
  • Nucleotide Motifs / genetics
  • Photons
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Ultraviolet Rays*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • Cryptochromes
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Uvr8 protein, Arabidopsis