Activation of cell surface components has been implicated in the activation of downstream signaling cascade in response to UV irradiation, and yet the identity and the interaction of those components have been scantly documented. Accumulating evidence indicates that caveolae encapsulating caveolins is the location for those interactions. We found in cultured human keratinocytes that UV irradiation induced both caveolin-1 and EGFR phosphorylation. Filipin, a caveolae disruptive agent, inhibited UV-induced caveolin-1 activation. Na+-K+-ATPase catalyzes active transport of Na+ and K+ across plasma membrane of mammalian cells, inactivation of which has recently been shown to be involved in the activation of signal transduction pathways including MAP kinase cascade. We found in this study that UV inactivated Na+-K+-ATPase in time-dependent manner, Na+-K+-ATPase activity started to decrease 5 min post UV irradiation and reduced to 60% of its original activity within 1 h. Pretreatment with Flipin and MMP inhibitor recovered Na+-K+-ATPase activity lost by UV irradiation. ECIS analysis indicated that both EGF treatment and UV irradiation increased membrane electric activity which was inhibited by MMP inhibitor and Filipin. Further study showed that pretreatment of human keratinocytes with MMP inhibitor or Filipin inhibited UV-induced phosphorylation of p38 and JNK, which was however not observed in LnCap cells, a prostate cancer cell line lacking caveolin-1. UV irradiation also induced ectodomain shedding of HB-EGF in a time-dependent manner in keratinocytes. Collectively, we conclude that UV-induced MAP kinase activation is mediated by cell surface receptor activation due to the matrix activity and membrane caveolae function and inactivation of Na+-K+-ATPase.