Research Topic

The Maintenance of Genome Integrity in Plants: Novel Challenges in Basic and Applied Research

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Plants are sessile organisms endowed with astonishing genomic plasticity. They use highly sophisticated mechanisms to discern spatio-temporal changes in the surrounding environment whereas genome integrity is continuously under threat by cellular and environmental factors that attack and damage DNA. A ...

Plants are sessile organisms endowed with astonishing genomic plasticity. They use highly sophisticated mechanisms to discern spatio-temporal changes in the surrounding environment whereas genome integrity is continuously under threat by cellular and environmental factors that attack and damage DNA. A plethora of undesired biological events challenge DNA integrity, even under physiological conditions. These events include DNA replication errors and aberrant DNA recombination which can occur as side effects of basal DNA metabolism, spontaneous hydrolysis of nucleotides and excess reactive oxygen species (ROS) production inside chloroplasts, during respiration and lipid peroxidation. Environmental factors can also have genotoxic effects and include physical factors, such as the UV light and ionizing radiation and chemical factors such as air and soil pollutants.

To counteract genotoxic stress, living organisms have evolved the DNA damage response (DDR), a complex molecular network composed of DNA damage sensing and signaling mechanisms that orchestrate multiple DNA repair and damage tolerance processes and that impact on cell-cycle checkpoints. A deeper knowledge of the mechanisms underlying DNA repair and maintenance of genome stability will help in improving our understanding of how plants cope with hostile environments in this era of global climate change.

Since the “ARR” (Access, Repair and Restore) model has been proposed in 2002, knowledge on chromatin remodelling dynamics in relation to DNA repair has considerably expanded. This model has been recently revisited, however, raising new hypotheses and discoveries, e.g. the influence of histone dynamics on epigenome maintenance. For example, research on the DDR performed in animals is now indicating unexpected levels of novel molecular interactions and cellular targets in this signaling network. rDNA genes provide an interesting target for the study of the balance between euchromatin and heterochromatin and its link to global genome stability while lipid-mediated DDR is a fascinating issue that remains to be addressed in plants.

This Research Topic aims to provide researchers with the opportunity to gather and interact by submitting Mini-Review, Original Research, Opinion, Methods and Commentary articles that describe the most recent advances and future perspectives in the field of DNA damage sensing, signaling and repair in plants. A comprehensive overview of the current progress on the study of the genotoxic stress response in plants at the cellular and molecular level will be provided. This will hopefully bring together valuable information for both plant biotechnologists and breeders and will help advance the translation of knowledge about the DDR in plants that could be applied to human diseases.

Thus, this Research Topic aims to address, but is not limited to, the following sub-topics:

1. DNA damage sensing and repair in plants: established and emerging players.
2. DDR pathways and cell cycle regulation in plants.
3. DNA repair and seed germination - how quiescent cells cope with DNA damage.
4. The balance between DNA repair pathways in the context of genome editing in plants.
5. High-throughput techniques, bioinformatic tools and genotoxicity assays to provide new insights into DDR and plant epigenome and epitranscriptome.


Keywords: DNA Damage Response, Genotoxic Stress, Chromatin, Genome Editing


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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