Apoptosis induction is involved in UVA-induced autolysis in sea cucumber Stichopus japonicus

Hang Qi, Hui Fu, Xiufang Dong, Dingding Feng, Nan Li, Chengrong Wen, Yoshimasa Nakamura, Beiwei Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Autolysis easily happens to sea cucumber (Stichopus japonicus, S. japonicus) for external stimulus like UV exposure causing heavy economic losses. Therefore, it is meaningful to reveal the mechanism of S. japonicas autolysis. In the present study, to examine the involvement of apoptosis induction in UVA-induced autolysis of S. japonicas, we investigated the biochemical events including the DNA fragmentation, caspase-3 activation, mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) phosphorylation and free radical formation. Substantial morphological changes such as intestine vomiting and dermatolysis were observed in S. japonicus during the incubation after 1-h UVA irradiation (10 W/m2). The degradation of the structural proteins and enhancement of cathepsin L activity were also detected, suggesting the profound impact of proteolysis caused by the UVA irradiation even for 1 h. Furthermore, the DNA fragmentation and specific activity of caspase-3 was increased up to 12 h after UVA irradiation. The levels of phosphorylated p38 mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) and phosphorylated c-Jun.-N-terminal kinase (JNK) were significantly increased by the UVA irradiation for 1 h. An electron spin resonance (ESR) analysis revealed that UVA enhanced the free radical formation in S. japonicas, even through we could not identify the attributed species. These results suggest that UVA-induced autolysis in S. japonicas at least partially involves the oxidative stress-sensitive apoptosis induction pathway. These data present a novel insight into the mechanisms of sea cucumber autolysis induced by external stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-135
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


  • Apoptosis
  • Autolysis
  • Free radical
  • MAPK phosphorylation
  • Sea cucumber Stichopus japonicus
  • UVA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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