Distinctive molecular responses to ultraviolet radiation between keratinocytes and melanocytes

Xiaoyun Sun, Arianna Kim, Masashi Nakatani, Yao Shen, Liang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is the major risk factor for skin carcinogenesis. To gain new insights into the molecular pathways mediating UVR effects in the skin, we performed comprehensive transcriptomic analyses to identify shared and distinctive molecular responses to UVR between human keratinocytes and melanocytes. Keratinocytes and melanocytes were irradiated with varying doses of UVB (10, 20 and 30 mJ/cm2) then analysed by RNA-Seq at different time points post-UVB radiation (4, 24 and 72 h). Under basal conditions, keratinocytes and melanocytes expressed similar number of genes, although they each expressed a distinctive subset of genes pertaining to their specific cellular identity. Upon UVB radiation, keratinocytes displayed a clear pattern of time- and dose-dependent changes in gene expression that was different from melanocytes. The early UVB-responsive gene set (4 h post-UVR) differed significantly from delayed UVB-responsive gene sets (24 and 72 h). We also identified multiple novel UVB signature genes including PRSS23, SERPINH1, LCE3D and CNFN, which were conserved between melanocyte and keratinocyte lines from different individuals. Taken together, our findings elucidated both common and distinctive molecular features between melanocytes and keratinocytes and uncovered novel UVB signature genes that might be utilized to predict UVB photobiological effects on the skin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)708-713
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Dermatology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Sept 1
Externally publishedYes


  • UV radiation
  • keratinocytes
  • melanocytes
  • transcriptome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology


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