Human small fragment nuclease (Sfn) is one of the cellular proteins that were reported to degrade small, single-stranded DNA and RNA. However, the biological role of Sfn in cellular response to various stressors such as UV-C (mainly 254 nm wavelength ultraviolet ray) remains unclear. We have examined whether modulation of human SFN gene expression affects cell survival capacity against UV-C–induced cell death, analyzing colony survival ability in UV-C–sensitive human RSa cells treated with short double-stranded RNA (siRNA) specific for SFN messenger RNA (mRNA). The expression levels of SFN mRNA in the siRNA-treated RSa cells decreased to about 15% compared with those in the control siRNA-treated cells. The siRNA-treated RSa cells showed lower colony survival and higher activity of caspase-3 after UV-C irradiation than the control siRNA-treated RSa cells. Furthermore, the removal capacity of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPD) in the siRNA-treated RSa cells decreased compared with the control siRNA-treated RSa cells. There was no difference in the colony survival and CPD removal capacity after UV-C irradiation between the control siRNA-treated RSa cells and mock-treated RSa cells. These results suggest that SFN expression is involved in resistance of RSa cells to UV-C–induced cell death through the roles it plays in the DNA repair process.
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Vol. 80 • No. 2