• GCLC;
  • UV;
  • JNK;
  • Apoptosis


Human glutamylcysteine ligase catalytic subunit (GCLC) is the rate-limiting enzyme for glutathione synthesis. The heavy subunit possesses all the catalytic activities. UV irradiation (UV-C, 30 J/m2) induced apoptosis in HEK293 cells, but the morphological changes were inhibited significantly by expression of GCLC. MTS assay and flow cytometry results also indicated that GCLC and JNK1APF expression enhanced cellular resistance to UV irradiation. Western blotting showed that irradiation strongly activated the c-Jun NH2-terminal kinases (JNKs) and caspase-3 as well as p38 in HEK293 cells. Interestingly, existing data show that GCLC blocks JNK1 phosphorylation but does not affect p38 phosphorylation. Therefore, overexpression of GCLC protected HEK293 cells against UV irradiation-induced cell death by inhibiting the phosphorylation and activation of JNK1, concomitantly with the inhibition of caspase-3 activation and p21WAF1-luciferase activity downstream of JNK.