The Protective Role of a Small GTPase RhoE against UVB-induced DNA Damage in Keratinocytes.

Boswell SA, Ongusaha PP, Nghiem P, Lee SW.

J Biol Chem. 2007 Feb 16;282(7):4850-8. Epub 2006 Dec 14.

PMID: 17170105

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RhoE, a p53 target gene, was identified as a critical factor for the survival of human keratinocytes in response to UVB. The Rho family of GTPases regulates many aspects of cellular behavior through alterations to the actin cytoskeleton, acting as molecular switches cycling between the active, GTP-bound and the inactive, GDP-bound conformations. Unlike typical Rho family proteins, RhoE (also known as Rnd3) is GTPase-deficient and thus expected to be constitutively active. In this study, we investigated the response of cultured human keratinocyte cells to UVB irradiation. RhoE protein levels increase upon exposure to UVB, and ablation of RhoE induction through small interfering RNA resulted in a significant increase in apoptosis and a reduction in the levels of the pro-survival targets p21, Cox-2, and cyclin D1, as well as an increase of reactive oxygen species levels when compared with control cells. These data indicate that RhoE is a pro-survival factor acting upstream of p38, JNK, p21, and cyclin D1. HaCat cells expressing small interfering RNA to p53 indicate that RhoE functions independently of its known associates, p53 and Rho-associated kinase I (ROCK I). Targeted expression of RhoE in epidermis using skin-specific transgenic mouse model resulted in a significant reduction in the number of apoptotic cells following UVB irradiation. Thus, RhoE induction counteracts UVB-induced apoptosis and may serve as a novel target for the prevention of UVB-induced photodamage regardless of p53 status.

J Biol Chem. 2007 Feb 16;282(7):4850-8. Epub 2006 Dec 14.