Journal of Investigative Dermatology vol:125 issue:5 pages:1026-1031
One protein central in the response of human keratinocytes to ultraviolet B damage is p53. By transactivating genes involved in either cell cycle arrest or DNA repair, p53 has a leading role in the recovery from this damage. Considering this role, we wished to investigate whether the triggering of a p53-dependent gene program by repetitive ultraviolet B (UVB) exposure can induce an adaptive response in human skin cells. In particular, we examined two p53-target genes, p21/WAF1 and p53R2, with a crucial role in p53-induced cell cycle arrest and p53-induced DNA repair respectively. Exposure to a mild UVB dose was able to induce an adaptive response in human keratinocytes, leading to increased survival of cells that maintain their capacity to repair DNA damage upon exposure to apoptotic doses of UVB. Our study indicates that this adaptation response is only achieved if the interval between subsequent UVB insults allows sufficient time for the p53-induced protective gene program to be induced. Our results also demonstrate that small but quickly recurring UVB exposures are as harmful as one intense, continual exposure to UVB irradiation. Future research will be oriented toward investigating alternative ways to induce an adaptive response without pre-exposing the cells to UV.