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Eur J Biochem. 1984 Jul 2;142(1):29-36.

Proteolytic modification of acidic and basic keratins during terminal differentiation of mouse and human epidermis.

Abstract

Keratins from the living cell layers of human and neonatal mouse epidermis (prekeratins) have been compared to those from the stratum corneum (SC keratins). Human and mouse epidermis contained four prekeratins, two of each keratin subfamily: type II basic (pI 6.5-8.5; human 68 kDa, 60.5 kDa and mouse 67 kDa, 60 kDa) and type I acidic (pI 4.7-5.7; human 57 kDa, 51 kDa and mouse 58 kDa, 53 kDa,). While all four were present in equal amounts in adult human epidermis, two (67 kDa basic, 58 kDa acidic) were more prominent in neonatal mouse epidermis. Preliminary results with cell fractions (basal, spinous and granular) indicated that quantitative differences were a function of morphology, basal cells containing the smaller member of each subfamily and granular cells the larger. Mouse stratum corneum extracts contained four keratins (three in human): type II neutral-acidic (pI 5.7-6.7; human 65 kDa and mouse 64 kDa, 62 kDa) and type I acidic (pI 4.9-5.4; human 57.5 kDa, 55 kDa and mouse 58.5 kDa, 57.5 kDa). In both species, one-dimensional and two-dimensional peptide mapping (with V8 protease and trypsin respectively) indicated that while all four prekeratins were distinct gene products, similarities existed in the type II basic and the type I acidic keratin subfamilies. A strong homology also existed between type II SC keratins and the larger basic (type II) prekeratin (human 68 kDa and mouse 67 kDa) and between type I SC keratins and the larger acidic (type I) prekeratin (human 57 kDa and mouse 58 kDa). These results indicate a precursor-product relationship within each keratin subfamily, between SC keratins and the prekeratins abundant in the adjacent granular layer. This differentiation-related keratin processing was similar in mouse and human epidermis, and may represent a widespread phenomenon amongst keratinising epithelia.

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