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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Specificity in stress response: epidermal keratinocytes exhibit specialized UV-responsive signal transduction pathways.

UV light, a paradigmatic initiator of cell stress, invokes responses that include signal transduction, activation of transcription factors, and changes in gene expression. Consequently, in epidermal keratinocytes, its principal and frequent natural target, UV regulates transcription of a distinctive set of genes. Hypothesizing that UV activates distinctive epidermal signal transduction pathways, we compared the UV-responsive activation of the JNK and NFkappaB pathways in keratinocytes, with the activation of the same pathways by other agents and in other cell types. Using of inhibitors and antisense oligonucleotides, we found that in keratinocytes only UVB/UVC activate JNK, while in other cell types UVA, heat shock, and oxidative stress do as well. Keratinocytes express JNK-1 and JNK-3, which is unexpected because JNK-3 expression is considered brain-specific. In keratinocytes, ERK1, ERK2, and p38 are activated by growth factors, but not by UV. UVB/UVC in keratinocytes activates Elk1 and AP1 exclusively through the JNK pathway. JNKK1 is essential for UVB/UVC activation of JNK in keratinocytes in vitro and in human skin in vivo. In contrast, in HeLa cells, used as a control, crosstalk among signal transduction pathways allows considerable laxity. In parallel, UVB/UVC and TNFalpha activate the NFkappaB pathway via distinct mechanisms, as shown using antisense oligonucleotides targeted against IKKbeta, the active subunit of IKK. This implies a specific UVB/UVC responsive signal transduction pathway independent from other pathways. Our results suggest that in epidermal keratinocytes specific signal transduction pathways respond to UV light. Based on these findings, we propose that the UV light is not a genetic stress response inducer in these cells, but a specific agent to which epidermis developed highly specialized responses.[1]


  1. Specificity in stress response: epidermal keratinocytes exhibit specialized UV-responsive signal transduction pathways. Adachi, M., Gazel, A., Pintucci, G., Shuck, A., Shifteh, S., Ginsburg, D., Rao, L.S., Kaneko, T., Freedberg, I.M., Tamaki, K., Blumenberg, M. DNA Cell Biol. (2003) [Pubmed]
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