Recently, apoptosis (genetically programmed cell death) induced by UV hasbeen documented in some cell culture models. However, the significance ofapoptosis in UV-induced cytotoxicity and resistance is uncertain. In thisstudy, we investigated the induction of apoptosis in HeLa cells and itsrole in acquired UV-resistance. The membrane receptor Fas was induced toassembly, and its immediate downstream target, caspase-8, was induced byUV in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Caspase-10, another possiblecandidate for forming the death-inducing signaling complex with Fas, wasalso activated in a dose- and time-dependent manner. There was significantactivation of caspase 9, 3 and 2 by UV. The apoptotic pathways appeared tobe normal in acquired UV-resistant HeLa cells. In addition, there was a UVdose-dependent induction of chromatin condensation in both parental andUV-resistant cells. However, resistant cells displayed significant reductionin chromatin condensation at lower doses. Inhibition of caspase-3 activation byspecific inhibitor significantly reduced the chromatin condensation in bothcell types, and unexpectedly, the difference between the two cell lines wascompletely eradicated, suggesting that the caspase-3 pathway plays asignificant role in reducing apoptosis in resistant cells. The resultsindicate that UV induces apoptosis by direct activation of apoptoticproteins in HeLa and resistant cells. Although resistant cells displayedpartial inhibition of UV-induced apoptosis through the caspase-3 pathway,there was no consistent difference in the activation of this and relatedcaspase-9 caspases compared to parental HeLa cells.

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