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J Biol Chem. 1994 Oct 7;269(40):24627-36.

Characterization and chromosomal localization of the cornea-specific murine keratin gene Krt1.12.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, University of Cincinnati, Ohio 45267-0527.


Keratins are a group of water-insoluble proteins constituting paired acidic and basic keratin molecules that form 10-nm intermediate filaments in epithelial cells. Expression of the K3/K12 keratin pair characterizes the cornea-type differentiation. However, the mechanism that regulates this cornea-specific K12 expression remains unknown. To provide a better understanding of the cornea-specific expression, we have cloned the K12 cDNA (Liu, C.-Y., Zhu, G., Westerhausen-Larson, A., Converse, R., Kao, C. W.-C., Sun, T.-T., and Kao, W. W.-Y. (1993) Curr. Eye Res. 12, 963-974). In present studies, the murine K12 keratin gene (Krt1.12) was isolated and characterized. The murine Krt1.12 gene spans 6,567 base pairs of genomic DNA, and the mRNA encoding K12 keratin is distributed into eight exons. Chromosome mapping reveals that murine Krt1.12 is located within the Krt1 complex of mouse chromosome 11. In addition to the production of authentic K12 mRNA, the Krt1.12 gene gives rise to several alternate poly(A)+ RNAs by the use of alternative splicing in intron 2, an alternative promoter in intron 1, and/or both. Sequence analysis indicates that the transcripts derived from alternative splicing and/or the alternative promoter do not have a long open reading frame for keratin or keratin-like molecules. It is not known whether these alternate K12 poly(A)+ RNAs have any biological functions, e.g. regulation of K12 gene expression.

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