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J Invest Dermatol. 1994 Feb;102(2):171-7.

Characterization of a hair (wool) keratin intermediate filament gene domain.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Adelaide, South Australia.


In epithelial differentiation keratin intermediate filament genes are expressed in multifarious tissue-specific and stage-specific patterns. Pairs of type I and type II intermediate filament genes, belonging to multigene families, are coordinately regulated, and 4-5 genes of each type are expressed in the hair follicle. Accumulating chromosomal mapping data points to a major locus for each intermediate filament multigene family on separate chromosomes. In this report we describe the isolation of a sheep hair keratin cosmid by chromosome walking that overlaps two previously described cosmids and establishes a continuous 100-kb segment of cloned DNA containing three hair and three hair-like type II intermediate filament keratin genes. A new hair keratin type II intermediate filament gene, KRT2.11, is located in the middle of the cluster, and partial sequence data reveal a striking conservation of its predicted N-terminal region with other sheep hair keratin type II intermediate filament proteins. Expression analyses demonstrate the presence of a 2.4-kb KRT2.11 transcript in wool follicle RNA and show that expression occurs in the follicle cortical keratinocytes above the dermal papilla. The three hair genes are clustered within about 40 kb and flanked by hair-like genes that are not expressed in the hair follicle, thereby demarcating a hair keratin gene domain.

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