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J Biol Chem. 2001 Jun 1;276(22):19440-51. Epub 2001 Feb 27.

Characterization of a cluster of human high/ultrahigh sulfur keratin-associated protein genes embedded in the type I keratin gene domain on chromosome 17q12-21.

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Divisions of Biochemistry of Tissue-specific Regulation, Cell Biology, and Resource Center for Human Genome Research, German Cancer Research Center, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.


Low stringency screening of a human P1 artificial chromosome library using a human hair keratin-associated protein (hKAP1.1A) gene probe resulted in the isolation of six P1 artificial chromosome clones. End sequencing and EMBO/GenBank(TM) data base analysis showed these clones to be contained in four previously sequenced human bacterial artificial chromosome clones present on chromosome 17q12-21 and arrayed into two large contigs of 290 and 225 kilobase pairs (kb) in size. A fifth, partially sequenced human bacterial artificial chromosome clone data base sequence overlapped and closed both of these contigs. One end of this 600-kb cluster harbored six gene loci for previously described human type I hair keratin genes. The other end of this cluster contained the human type I cytokeratin K20 and K12 gene loci. The center of the cluster, starting 35 kb downstream of the hHa3-I hair keratin gene, contained 37 genes for high/ultrahigh sulfur hair keratin-associated proteins (KAPs), which could be divided into a total of 7 KAP multigene families based on amino acid homology comparisons with previously identified sheep, mouse, and rabbit KAPs. To date, 26 human KAP cDNA clones have been isolated through screening of an arrayed human scalp cDNA library by means of specific 3'-noncoding region polymerase chain reaction probes derived from the identified KAP gene sequences. This screening also yielded four additional cDNA sequences whose genes were not present on this gene cluster but belonged to specific KAP gene families present on this contig. Hair follicle in situ hybridization data for single members of five different KAP multigene families all showed localization of the respective mRNAs to the upper cortex of the hair shaft.

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