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Exp Cell Res. 1995 Oct;220(2):357-62.

Sequence data and chromosomal localization of human type I and type II hair keratin genes.

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Research Program 2 (Tumor Cell Regulation), German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg.


A cDNA library constructed with poly(A)+ RNA from human scalp was screened with selected fragments of both murine type I and type II hair keratin cDNAs. Two keratin clones, one type I, phKI-2, and one type II, phKII-1, were isolated and sequenced. In Northern blots, cDNA probes containing the 3'-noncoding sequences of the clones specifically hybridized to scalp mRNA species. Based on sequence homology comparisons with the four known murine type I hair keratins mHa1-4, the phKI-2 encoded keratin could be identified as human hair keratin hHa2. Similarly, sequence comparison with the four type II sheep wool keratins K2.9-12 revealed an orthologous relationship between the largest member of the type II wool keratin subfamily, K2.9 (i.e., sHb1) and the phKII-1 encoded human hair keratin (hHb1). The specific 3'-noncoding sequences of hHa2 and hHb1 were also used to isolate genomic fragments for both keratins from human genomic libraries which were than used for fluorescence in situ hybridization to human metaphase chromosomes. The hHa2 gene could be mapped to the long arm of chromosome 17, whereas the hHb1 gene was found on the long arm of chromosome 12. DAPI banding of the chromosomes allowed sublocalization of the hHa2 gene to 17q12-q21 and the hHb1 gene to 12q13, i.e., gene loci that have also been previously determined for human type I and type II epithelial keratins.

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