We investigated the effect of UVB irradiation on phospholipid metabolism using normal human diploid skin fibroblasts. When cells were exposed to monochromatic UV light, the intracellular PIP3 level was increased within 1 min in a wavelength-specific manner. The increase was most marked in the UVB range and was inhibited by a PI 3-kinase inhibitor, tyrosine kinase inhibitor, or antioxidant reagents. Furthermore, the decrease of cell viability induced by UVB irradiation was significantly blocked by wortmannin. These results suggest that PI 3-kinase activation is involved in novel cellular responses specific for UVB that lead to cell death.