In resting cells, eIF4E-binding protein 1 (4E-BP1) binds to the eukaryotic initiation factor-4E (eIF-4E), preventing formation of a functional eIF-4F complex essential for cap-dependent initiation of translation. Phosphorylation of 4E-BP1 dissociates it from eIF-4E, relieving the translation block. Studies suggested that insulin- or growth factor-induced 4E-BP1 phosphorylation is mediated by phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-kinase) and its downstream protein kinase, Akt. In the present study we demonstrated that UVB induced 4E-BP1 phosphorylation at multiple sites, Thr-36, Thr-45, Ser-64, and Thr-69, leading to dissociation of 4E-BP1 from eIF-4E. UVB-induced phosphorylation of 4E-BP1 was blocked by p38 kinase inhibitors, PD169316 and SB202190, and MSK1 inhibitor, H89, but not by mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase inhibitors, PD98059 or U0126. The PI3-kinase inhibitor, wortmannin, did not block UVB-induced 4E-BP1 phosphorylation, but blocked both UVB- and insulin-induced activation of PI3-kinase and phosphorylation of Akt. 4E-BP1 phosphorylation was blocked in JB6 Cl 41 cells expressing a dominant negative p38 kinase or dominant negative MSK1, but not in cells expressing dominant negative ERK2, JNK1, or PI3-kinase p85 subunit. Our results suggest that UVB induces phosphorylation of 4E-BP1, leading to the functional dissociation of 4E-BP1 from eIF-4E. The p38/MSK1 pathway, but not PI3-kinase or Akt, is required for mediating the UVB-induced 4E-BP1 phosphorylation.