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Dynamics of heat-shock induced DNA damage and repair in senescent tobacco plants


Oxidative stress plays an important role in plant ageing and in response to different stresses. Oxidative DNA damage, unless repaired, may have detrimental consequences and increase genetic instability. Therefore, we determined the role of heat-shock induced oxidative stress on induction and repair of DNA damage in relation to oxidative stress tolerance in senescent tobacco plants. One-month-old (young) and three-month-old (senescent) plants were exposed to 42 °C for 2 and 4 h and left to recover at 26 °C for 24 and 72 h. The progression of senescence was characterized by the lower soluble protein and malondialdehyde content compared to young plants. Immediately after the heat shock, an increase in lipid peroxidation and guaiacol peroxidase activity, as well as DNA damage measured by the Comet assay were induced to higher extent in the young plants than in the senescent ones compared to their respective controls. Moreover, after 24-h recovery, the DNA damage further increased in the young plants whereas tendency of DNA repair was observed in the senescent plants. Upon 72-h recovery, no significant differences were noticed in all parameters studied (regardless of plant age) compared to the controls. The random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis confirmed genetic stability of the tobacco plants during the heat-shock exposures as well as the subsequent recovery periods.

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bovine serum albumin


ethyl methanesulfonate




guaiacol peroxidase


low melting point


normal melting point


polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis


polymerase chain reaction




random amplified polymorphic DNA


reactive oxygen species

TAE buffer:

Tris-acetate + EDTA buffer


2-thiobarbituric acid


2-thiobarbituric acid reactive metabolites


trichloroacetic acid


tail DNA


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Correspondence to P. Cvjetko.

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Acknowledgements: This study was supported by the Croatian Ministry of Science and Technology as a part of Projects Nos. 119-0982934-3110 and 119-1191196-1200

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Cvjetko, P., Balen, B., Peharec Štefanić, P. et al. Dynamics of heat-shock induced DNA damage and repair in senescent tobacco plants. Biol Plant 58, 71–79 (2014).

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Additional key words

  • Comet assay
  • DNA polymorphism
  • oxidative stress
  • RAPD
  • temperature stress