In this study, we investigated the effect of tea polyphenols, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate or theaflavins, on UVB-induced phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) activation in mouse epidermal JB6 Cl 41 cells. Pretreatment of cells with these polyphenols inhibited UVB-induced PI3K activation. Furthermore, UVB-induced activation of Akt and ribosomal p70 S6 kinase (p70 S6-K), PI3K downstream effectors, were also attenuated by the polyphenols. In addition to LY294002, a PI3K inhibitor, pretreatment with a specific mitogen-activated protein/extracellular signal-regulated protein kinases (Erks) kinase 1 inhibitor, U0126, or a specific p38 kinase inhibitor, SB202190, blocked UVB-induced activation of both Akt and p70 S6-K. Pretreatment with LY294002 restrained UVB-induced phosphorylation of Erks, suggesting that in UVB signaling, the Erk pathway is mediated by PI3K. Moreover, pretreatment with rapamycin, an inhibitor of p70 S6-K, inhibited UVB-induced activation of p70 S6-K, but UVB-induced activation of Akt did not change. Interestingly, UVB-induced p70 S6-K activation was directly blocked by the addition of (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate or theaflavins, whereas these polyphenols showed only a weak inhibition on UVB-induced Akt activation. Because PI3K is an important factor in carcinogenesis, the inhibitory effect of these polyphenols on activation of PI3K and its downstream effects may further explain the anti-tumor promotion action of these tea constituents.