Journal of Biological Chemistry vol:275 issue:28 pages:21416-21
The mechanisms of UVB-induced apoptosis and the role of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) were investigated in HaCaT cells. UVB doses that induced apoptosis also produced a sustained activation of p38 MAPK and mitochondrial cytochrome c release, leading to pro-caspase-3 activation. Late into the apoptotic process, UVB also induced a caspase-mediated cleavage of Bid. Caspase inhibitors benzyloxycarbonyl-Val-Ala-Asp-fluoromethylketone and benzyloxycarbonyl-Asp-Glu-Val-Asp-fluoromethylketone substantially blocked the UVB-induced apoptosis without preventing the release of mitochondrial cytochrome c and the p38 MAPK activation. The inhibition of p38 MAPK counteracted both apoptosis and cytochrome c release as well as the DEVD-amino-4-methylcoumarin cleavage activity without affecting the processing of pro-caspase-8. These results indicate that UVB induces multiple and independent apoptotic pathways, which culminate in pro-caspase-3 activation, and that the initial cytochrome c release is independent of caspase activity. Importantly, we show that a sustained p38 MAPK activation contributes to the UVB-induced apoptosis by mediating the release of mitochondrial cytochrome c into the cytosol.