Photochemistry and photobiology

The role of cholesterol in UV light B-induced apoptosis.

PMID 22077874


Modification of major lipid raft components, such as cholesterol and ceramide, plays a role in regulation of programmed cell death under various stimuli. However, the relationship between cholesterol level modification and the activation of apoptotic signaling cascades upon UVB light has not been established. In this report, we demonstrate that upon UVB irradiation cholesterol levels in membrane rafts of skin cells increase, which leads to Fas-receptor (Fas) aggregation in the rafts. Utilizing a continuous velocity floatation technique, we show that Fas accumulated in the lipid rafts of human melanoma M624 cells after UVB irradiation. The subsequent events of death-inducing signaling complex formation were also detected in the lipid raft fractions. Depletion of cholesterol by methyl-β-cyclodextrin reduces Fas aggregation, while overloading increases. Disruption of lipid rafts also prevents Fas death domain-associated protein (Daxx) from dissociating from Fas in the lipid rafts, which is accompanied with a reduced apoptotic, but increased nonapoptotic death of UVB-irradiated human keratinocytes, HaCaT cells. Results indicate that cholesterol located in the plasma membrane of skin cells is required for lipid raft domain formation and activation of UVB-induced apoptosis.