Requirement for Metalloproteinase-dependent ERK and AKT Activation in UVB-induced G1-S Cell Cycle Progression of Human Keratinocytes


*Corresponding author email: (Yu-Ying He)


UVB (280–315 nm) in natural sunlight represents a major environmental challenge to the skin and is clearly associated with human skin cancer. Here we demonstrate that low doses of UVB induce keratinocyte proliferation and cell cycle progression of human HaCaT keratinocytes. Different from UVA, UVB irradiation induced extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and AKT activation and their activation are both required for UVB-induced cell cycle progression. Activation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) was observed after UVB exposure and is upstream of ERK/AKT/cyclin D1 pathway activation and cell cycle progression following UVB radiation. Furthermore, metalloproteinase (MP) inhibitor GM6001 blocked UVB-induced ERK and AKT activation, cell cycle progression, and decreased the EGFR phosphorylation, demonstrating that MPs mediate the EGFR/ERK/AKT/cyclin D1 pathways and cell cycle progression induced by UVB radiation. In addition, ERK or AKT activation is essential for EGFR activation because ERK or AKT inhibitor blocks EGFR activation following UVB radiation, indicating that EGFR/AKT/ERK pathways form a regulatory loop and converge into cell cycle progression following UVB radiation. Identification of these signaling pathways in UVB-induced cell cycle progression of quiescent keratinocytes as a process mimicking tumor promotion in vivo will facilitate the development of efficient and safe chemopreventive and therapeutic strategies for skin cancer.