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

Ultraviolet light induces apoptosis via direct activation of CD95 (Fas/APO-1) independently of its ligand CD95L.

Induction of apoptosis in keratinocytes by UV light is a critical event in photocarcinogenesis. Although p53 is of importance in this process, evidence exists that other pathways play a role as well. Therefore, we studied whether the apoptosis-related surface molecule CD95 (Fas/APO-1) is involved. The human keratinocyte cell line HaCaT expresses CD95 and undergoes apoptosis after treatment with UV light or with the ligand of CD95 (CD95L). Incubation with a neutralizing CD95 antibody completely prevented CD95L-induced apoptosis but not UV-induced apoptosis, initially suggesting that the CD95 pathway may not be involved. However, the protease CPP32, a downstream molecule of the CD95 pathway, was activated in UV-exposed HaCaT cells, and UV-induced apoptosis was blocked by the ICE protease inhibitor zVAD, implying that at least similar downstream events are involved in CD95- and UV-induced apoptosis. Activation of CD95 results in recruitment of the Fas- associated protein with death domain (FADD) that activates ICE proteases. Immunoprecipitation of UV-exposed HaCaT cells revealed that UV light also induces recruitment of FADD to CD95. Since neutralizing anti- CD95 antibodies failed to prevent UV-induced apoptosis, this suggested that UV light directly activates CD95 independently of the ligand CD95L. Confocal laser scanning microscopy showed that UV light induced clustering of CD95 in the same fashion as CD95L. Prevention of UV-induced CD95 clustering by irradiating cells at 10 degrees C was associated with a significantly reduced death rate. Together, these data indicate that UV light directly stimulates CD95 and thereby activates the CD95 pathway to induce apoptosis independently of the natural ligand CD95L. These findings further support the concept that UV light can affect targets at the plasma membrane, thereby even inducing apoptosis.[1]


  1. Ultraviolet light induces apoptosis via direct activation of CD95 (Fas/APO-1) independently of its ligand CD95L. Aragane, Y., Kulms, D., Metze, D., Wilkes, G., Pöppelmann, B., Luger, T.A., Schwarz, T. J. Cell Biol. (1998) [Pubmed]
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