Metabolomic and physiological responses reveal multi-phasic acclimation of Arabidopsis thaliana to chronic UV radiation

Janice A. Lake, Katie J. Field, Matthew P. Davey, David J. Beerling, Barry H. Lomax

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74 Citations (Scopus)


Biochemical changes in vivo and pathway interactions were investigated using integrated physiological and metabolic responses of Arabidopsis thaliana L. to ultraviolet (UV) radiation (280-400 nm) at 9.96 kJ m-2 d -1 over the entire life cycle from seed to seed (8 weeks). Columbia-0 (Col-0) and a UV-B sensitive accession (fah-1) showed significant (P < 0.001) reductions in leaf growth after 6 weeks. Col-0 recovered growth after 8 weeks, with recovery corresponding to a switch from production of phenylpropanoids to flavonoids. fah-1 failed to recover, indicating that sinapate production is an essential component of recovery. Epidermal features show that UV radiation caused significant (P < 0.001) increases in trichome density, which may act as a structural defence response. Stomatal indices showed a significant (P < 0.0001) reduction in Col-0 and a significant (P < 0.001) increase in fah-1. Epidermal cell density was significantly increased under UV radiation on the abaxial leaf surface, suggesting that that a fully functioning phenylpropanoid pathway is a requirement for cell expansion and leaf development. Despite wild-type acclimation, the costs of adaptation lead to reduced plant fitness by decreasing flower numbers and total seed biomass. A multi-phasic acclimation to UV radiation and the induction of specific metabolites link stress-induced biochemical responses to enhanced acclimation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1377-1389
Number of pages13
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Issue number10
Early online date10 Jun 2009
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2009


  • Flavonoids
  • Phenylpropanoids
  • Stomatal density
  • Trichome density


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