Table of Contents
ISRN Cell Biology
Volume 2013, Article ID 869216, 6 pages
Research Article

UV-C Exposure Induces an Apoptosis-Like Process in Euglena gracilis

Department of Biology and Geology, Baldwin Wallace University, 275 Eastland Road, Berea, OH 44017, USA

Received 4 December 2012; Accepted 27 December 2012

Academic Editors: A. Colanzi and M. Yamaguchi

Copyright © 2013 Michael J. Bumbulis and Brian M. Balog. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Euglena gracilis is a unicellular, free-living flagellate that inhabits various freshwater environments. Our research shows that exposure to UV-C light can trigger some form of programmed cell death. Cells exposed to UV-C light underwent delayed changes that were strongly reminiscent of apoptosis in mammalian cells, including cell shrinkage and DNA fragmentation that produced the characteristic ladder pattern commonly seen with apoptosis. DNA fragmentation could be inhibited by pretreatment with Z-VAD-FMK and also independently induced by exposure to staurosporine. In addition, Euglena possess proteins that cross-reacted with antibodies raised against human caspases 3 and 9. Given that Euglena are extremely easy to culture and represent a lineage positioned near the base of the eukaryotic tree, they will be an excellent model system for comparative analyses with apoptotic-like death processes in other eukaryotic microbes.