Photoprotection in human skin--a multifaceted SOS response

Photochem Photobiol. Mar-Apr 2008;84(2):339-49. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-1097.2007.00264.x. Epub 2008 Jan 7.


Human skin has developed elaborate defense mechanisms for combating a wide variety of potentially damaging environmental factors; principal among these is UV light. Despite these defenses, short-term damage may include painful sunburn and long-term UV damage results in both accelerated skin aging and skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and even malignant melanoma. While UV radiation damages many cellular constituents, its most lasting effects involve DNA alteration. The following sections briefly review UV-inducible protective responses in bacteria and in skin, thymidine dinucleotides (pTT) as a powerful probe of DNA damage responses, and potential means of harnessing these inducible responses therapeutically to reduce the now enormous burden of cutaneous photodamage in our society.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Damage
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / genetics
  • SOS Response, Genetics*
  • Skin / radiation effects*
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics