Research Topic

Ultraviolet Radiation: Friend or Foe for Plants?

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Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a central component of sunlight. While UV-C is completely screened by the atmosphere, longer UV wavelengths (UV-B, 280-315 nm, and UV-A, 315-400 nm) may reach the Earth surface, though most UV-B is absorbed by the ozone layer and its relative level in sunlight is highly variable ...

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a central component of sunlight. While UV-C is completely screened by the atmosphere, longer UV wavelengths (UV-B, 280-315 nm, and UV-A, 315-400 nm) may reach the Earth surface, though most UV-B is absorbed by the ozone layer and its relative level in sunlight is highly variable due to latitude, altitude, cloud cover, atmospheric pollution and other meteorological and environmental factors.

Among the Earth-reaching UV radiations, UV-B in particular has the potential to affect proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids and thereby, represents a potential stressor for plants. However, plants, having evolved under sunlight, have developed a plethora of acclimatization strategies to avoid excessive UV absorption and to minimize the negative consequences of UV exposure, such as the set-up of antioxidant machinery and the development of repair mechanisms. Therefore, ambient UV levels should be regarded as an environmental and regulatory stimulus, rather than a stressor, with the ability to modulate plant morphology and physiology.

Following the discovery of the UV-B specific receptor (UVR8) and signaling route, research in the field of plant photomorphogenic responses to UV-B received a great impulse. At the same time, evidence started to accumulate on the promising role of this radiation in improving plant resistance to pests or other abiotic stresses, via the induction of cross-resistance and the partial overlapping and integration of the UVR8 signal cascade with other signaling networks. Moreover, there is increasing interest in the practical applications of UV radiation in the field of agronomy, food science and technology for the production of innovative, sustainable and high-quality food, by exploiting the potential of this radiation in stimulating secondary metabolism and the accumulation of several metabolites.

Nevertheless, there are still several open questions in basic research fields, as well as many applications and methodological gaps to fill. Moreover, although plants are more exposed to UV-A than UV-B radiation, and UV-A has a deeper penetration capacity, little knowledge is currently available on plant reaction to this radiation.

This Research Topic welcomes submission of all types of articles, with a preference for Original Research, Reviews, and Opinions. In particular, contributions addressing the following aspects are welcome:

- UV-B and UV-A signaling routes: overlapping and integration in the cell signal network.
- Broadening UV research beyond Arabidopsis.
- Hormonal control of UV responses in plants.
- UV-B and/or UV-A influence on plant acclimation to biotic and abiotic stressors.
- Interactions between climate change and UV-radiation.
- UV radiation and LEDs on plant metabolism and quality traits.


Keywords: Secondary Metabolism, Signaling, UV Radiation


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