Send to

Choose Destination
J Biol Chem. 2002 May 31;277(22):19346-52. Epub 2002 Mar 27.

Activation of caspase-9 is required for UV-induced apoptosis of human keratinocytes.

Author information

Department of Pathology and the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Skin Cancer Research Program, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois 60153, USA.


UV radiation from the sun activates both the membrane death receptor and the intrinsic or mitochondrial apoptotic signaling pathways in epidermal keratinocytes, triggering apoptosis and affording protection against skin cancer formation. We have investigated the involvement of caspase-9 in the UV death effector pathway in human keratinocytes, since this is the initiating caspase in the mitochondrial pathway required for UV-induced apoptosis in some, but not all, cell types. UV radiation triggered activation of caspase-3, caspase-9, and caspase-8 with similar kinetics, although the rank order of activation was caspase-3 > caspase-9 > caspase-8. Inhibition of caspase-9 with either the peptide inhibitor benzyloxycarbonyl-Leu-Glu(OCH(3))-His-Asp(OCH(3))-fluoromethyl ketone, or expression of a catalytically inactive caspase-9 by retroviral transduction, protected normal keratinocytes from UV-induced apoptosis. HaCaT keratinocytes harboring mutant p53 alleles were also protected from UV-induced apoptosis by the dominant negative caspase-9. The dominant negative caspase-9 blocked UV-induced activation of caspase-3, caspase-9, and caspase-8, and also protected cells from the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential. In contrast, the dominant negative caspase-9 did not protect from anti-Fas-induced apoptosis or caspase activation. These results identify caspase-9 as the critical upstream caspase initiating apoptosis by UV radiation in human keratinocytes, the relevant cell type for this important environmental carcinogen.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center