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Screening of visible and UV radiation as a photoprotective mechanism in plants

Solovchenko, A. E., Merzlyak, M. N.
Russian journal of plant physiology 2008 v.55 no.6 pp. 719-737
absorption, amino acids, anthocyanins, autotrophs, betalains, carotenoids, chemical structure, energy, evolution, flavonols, lighting, phenolic acids, photoinhibition, plant damage, reactive oxygen species, screening, solar radiation, spectral analysis, ultraviolet radiation
Prolonged exposure of plants to high fluxes of solar radiation as well as to other environmental stressors disturbs the balance between absorbed light energy and capacity of its photochemical utilization resulting in photoinhibition of and eventually in damage to plants. Under such circumstances, the limiting of the light absorption by the photosynthetic apparatus efficiently augments the general photoprotective mechanisms of the plant cell, such as reparation of macromolecules, elimination of reactive oxygen species, and thermal dissipation of the excessive light energy absorbed. Under stressful conditions, plants accumulate, in different cell compartments and tissue structures, pigments capable of attenuation of the radiation in the UV and visible parts of the spectrum. To the date, four principle key groups of photoprotective pigments are known: mycosporine-like amino acids, phenolic compounds (including phenolic acids, flavonols, and anthocyanins), alkaloids (betalains), and carotenoids. The accumulation of UV-absorbing compounds (mycosporine-like amino acids and phenolics in lower and higher plants, respectively) is a ubiquitous mechanism of adaptation to and protection from the damage by high fluxes of solar radiation developed by photoautotrophic organisms at the early stages of their evolution. Extrathylakoid carotenoids, betalains, and anthocyanins play an important role in long-term adaptation to the illumination conditions and in protection of plants against photodamage. A prominent feature of certain plant taxa lacking some classes of photoprotective pigments (such as anthocyanins) is their substitution by other compounds (e.g. keto-carotenoids or betalains) disparate in terms of chemical structure and subcellular localization but possessing close spectral properties.