Augmentation of CPD photolyase activity in japonica and indica rice increases their UVB resistance but still leaves the difference in their sensitivities
Rice cultivars vary widely in their sensitivity to ultraviolet B (UVB, 280–320 nm). Specifically, many indica rice cultivars from tropical regions, where UVB radiation is higher, are hypersensitive to UVB. Photoreactivation mediated by the photolyase enzyme is the major pathway for repairing UVB-induced cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs) in plants. Still, these UVB-sensitive cultivars are less able to repair CPDs through photoreactivation than UVB-resistant cultivars. Here, we produced CPD photolyase-overexpressing transgenic rice plants with higher CPD photolyase activity using UVB-sensitive rice Norin 1 (japonica) and UVB-hypersensitive rice Surjamkhi (indica) as parental line (PL) plants. The results show that these transgenic rice plants were much more resistant to UVB-induced growth inhibition than were PL cultivars. The present findings strongly indicate that UVB-resistance, caused by an increase in CPD photolyase activity, can be achieved in various rice cultivars. However, there was a difference in the level of reduction of UVB-induced growth inhibition among rice cultivars; the level of reduction of growth inhibition in transgenic rice plants generated from the indica strain was lower than that of transgenic rice plants generated from japonica strains. These results indicate that the growth of the UVB-hypersensitive indica strain was strongly inhibited by other factors in addition to CPD levels.