Functional acclimation to solar UV-B radiation in Gunnera magellanica, a native plant species of southernmost Patagonia

C. V. Giordano, T. Mori, O. E. Sala, A. L. Scopel, M. M. Caldwell, C. L. Ballaré

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The ecosystems of Tierra del Fuego (in southern Patagonia, Argentina) are seasonally exposed to elevated levels of ultraviolet-B radiation (UV-B: 280-315 nm), due to the passage of the 'ozone hole' over this region. In the experiments reported in this article the effects of solar UV-B and UV-A (315-400 nm) on two UV-B defence-related processes: the accumulation of protective UV-absorbing compounds and DNA repair, were tested. It was found that the accumulation of UV-absorbing sunscreens in Gunnera magellanica leaves was not affected by plant exposure to ambient UV radiation. Photorepair was the predominant mechanism of cyclobutane-pyrimidine dimer (CPD) removal in G. magellanica. Plants exposed to solar UV had higher CPD repair capacity under optimal conditions of temperature (25 °C) than plants grown under attenuated UV. There was no measurable repair at 8 °C. The rates of CPD repair in G. magellanica plants were modest in comparison with other species and, under equivalent conditions, were about 50% lower than the repair rates of Arabidopsis thaliana (Ler ecotype). Collectively our results suggest that the susceptibility of G. magellanica plants to current ambient levels of solar UV-B in southern Patagonia may be related to a low DNA repair capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2027-2036
Number of pages10
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Cyclobutane-pyrimidine dimer photorepair
  • Ozone depletion
  • UV-B
  • UV-absorbing compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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