Journal article Open Access
DNA damage caused by exposure to reactive oxygen species is one of the primary causes of DNA decay in most organisms. In plants, endogenous reactive oxygen species are generated not only by respiration and photosynthesis, but also by active responses to certain environmental challenges, such as pathogen attack. Significant extracellular sources of activated oxygen include air pollutants such as ozone and oxidative effects of UV light and low-level ionizing radiation. Plants are well equipped to cope with oxidative damage to cellular macromolecules, including DNA. Oxidative attack on DNA generates both altered bases and damaged sugar residues that undergo fragmentation and lead to strand breaks. Recent advances in the study of DNA repair in higher plants show that they use mechanisms similar to those present in other eukaryotes to remove and/or tolerate oxidized bases and other oxidative DNA lesions. Therefore, plants represent a valuable model system for the study of DNA oxidative repair processes in eukaryotic cells.