Ozone depletion by anthropogenic gases has increased the atmospheric transmission of solar ultraviolet-B radiation (UV-B, 280–315 nm). There is a logical link between the natural defenses of terrestrial and marine organisms against UV radiation and the prevention of UV-induced damage to human skin. UV light degrades organic molecules such as proteins and nucleic acids, giving rise to structural changes that directly affect their biological function. These compounds offer the potential for development of novel UV blockers for human use. The biological role of mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) and scytonemin as a defense against solar radiation in organisms, together with their structure, synthesis, distribution, regulation and effectiveness, are reviewed in this article. This review points to the role of MAAs as a natural defense against UV radiation.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2004, Institute of Microbiology, v.v.i, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.
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