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Jeongin Son J Son, Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, United States

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Jacob T. Bailey J Bailey, Department of Immunology and Microbial Disease, Albany Medical College, Albany, United States

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Stephen Worrell S Worrell, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, United States

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Adam B. Glick A Glick, Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, United States

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UV irradiation of the skin induces photo damage and generates cytotoxic intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), activating the unfolded protein response (UPR) to adapt or reduce these UVB-mediated damages. We previously identified a role for the key UPR mediator inositol requiring enzyme 1 (IRE1α) in the UV-DNA damage response. Here, we show that in the absence of IRE1α, PERK activity and protein levels are significantly compromised following UVB irradiation. Additionally, the loss of IRE1α suppressed phosphorylation of the PERK target, nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2 (NRF2), and NRF2-dependent antioxidant gene expression after UVB irradiation. Interestingly, IRE1α-deficient keratinocytes exhibit elevated basal ROS levels, while a robust ROS induction upon UVB exposure is abolished. Because UVB-induced ROS plays an essential role in regulating skin inflammation, we analyzed recruited immune cell populations and the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, Il-6 and Tnfα in mice with epidermally-targeted deletion of Ire1α. Following UVB irradiation, there was significantly less recruitment of neutrophils and leukocytes and reduced expression of pro-inflammatory cytokine genes in the skin of mice lacking IRE1α. Furthermore, keratinocyte proliferation was also significantly reduced after chronic UVB exposure in the skin of these mice. Collectively, our findings indicate that IRE1α is essential for basal and UVB-induced oxidative stress response, UV-induced skin immune responses, and keratinocyte proliferation. These findings shed new light on the protective function of IRE1α in the response to UV.

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