Ultraviolet radiation triggers the ribotoxic stress response in mammalian cells

Mihail S. Iordanov, David Pribnow, Jennifer L. Magun, Thanh Hoai Dinh, Jean A. Pearson, Bruce E. Magun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations


The ribotoxic stress response, which is conserved between prokaryotes and eukaryotes, is a cellular reaction to cytotoxic interference with the function of the 3'-end of the large (23 S/28 S) ribosomal RNA. The 3'-end of the large rRNA is directly involved in the three sequential steps of translational elongation: the Aminoacyl-tRNA binding, the peptidyl transfer, and the ribosomal translocation. In mammalian cells, the ribotoxic stress response involves activation of the stress-activated protein kinase/c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase and the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase and transcriptional induction of immediate early genes such as c-fos and c-jun. Active ribosemes are essential mediators of the ribotoxic stress response. We demonstrate here that the transcriptional response of mammalian cells to ultraviolet radiation (UV response) displays the characteristics of a ribotoxic stress response, inasmuch as (i) the activation of stress kinases and gene expression in response to UV requires the presence of active ribosomes at the moment of irradiation; (ii) UV irradiation inhibits protein synthesis; and (iii) irradiation of cells with UV causes specific damage to the 3'-end of the 28 S rRNA. In contrast, the activation of the stress kinases by hyperosmolarity, by the DNA-cross-linking agent diepoxybutane, or by growth factors and cytokines does not depend on the presence of active ribosomes. Our results identify UV as a potential ribotoxic stressor and support the notion that some of the cellular signaling cascades in response to UV might be generated in the ribosome, possibly triggered by damage to rRNA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15794-15803
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 19 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Ultraviolet radiation triggers the ribotoxic stress response in mammalian cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this