New trends in photobiology (Invited review). UV-induced signal transduction

Klaus Bender, Christine Blattner, Axel Knebel, Mihail Iordanov, Peter Herrlich, Hans J. Rahmsdorf

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

233 Scopus citations


Irradiation of cells with short wavelength ultraviolet light (UVA, B and C) induces the transcription of many genes. The program overlaps with that induced by oxidants and alkylating agents and has both protective and other functions. Genes transcribed in response to UV irradiation include genes encoding transcription factors, growth factors, proteases and viral proteins. While the transcription of trascription factor encoding genes is initiated in minutes after UV irradiation (immediate response genes) and depends exclusively on performed proteins, the transcription of protease encoding genes occurs only many hours after UV irradiation. Transcription factors controlling the activity of immediate response genes are activted by protein kinases belonging to the group of proline directed protein kinases immediately after UV irradiation. Experimental evidence suggest that these kinases are activated in UV irradiated cells through pathways which are used by growth factors. In fact, the first cellular reaction detectable in UV irradiated cells is the phosphorylation of several growth factor receptors at tyrosine residues. This phosphorylation does not depend on UV induced DNA damage, but is due to an inhibition of the activity of tyrosine phophatatases. In contrast, for late cellular reactions to UV, an obligatory role of DNA damage in transcribed regions of the genome can be demonstrated. This, UV is absorbed by several target molecules relevant for cellular signaling, and it appears that numerous signal transduction pathways are stimulated. The combined action of these pathways establishes the genetic program that determines the fate of UV irradiated cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Gene transcription
  • Signal transduction
  • Transcription factors
  • UV irradiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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