Ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation is the major environmental risk factor for developing skin cancer, the most common cancer worldwide, which is characterized by aberrant activation of Akt/mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin). Importantly, the link between UV irradiation and mTOR signaling has not been fully established. Apigenin is a naturally occurring flavonoid that has been shown to inhibit UV-induced skin cancer. Previously, we have demonstrated that apigenin activates AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which leads to suppression of basal mTOR activity in cultured keratinocytes. Here, we demonstrated that apigenin inhibited UVB-induced mTOR activation, cell proliferation and cell cycle progression in mouse skin and in mouse epidermal keratinocytes. Interestingly, UVB induced mTOR signaling via PI3K/Akt pathway, however, the inhibition of UVB-induced mTOR signaling by apigenin was not Akt-dependent. Instead, it was driven by AMPK activation. In addition, mTOR inhibition by apigenin in keratinocytes enhanced autophagy, which was responsible, at least in part, for the decreased proliferation in keratinocytes. In contrast, apigenin did not alter UVB-induced apoptosis. Taken together, our results indicate the important role of mTOR inhibition in UVB protection by apigenin, and provide a new target and strategy for better prevention of UV-induced skin cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology