Journal article Open Access
We present the cDNA and amino acid sequences of a cytoskeletal keratin from human epidermis (Mr = 56K) that belongs to one of the two classes of keratins (Type I and Type II) present in all vertebrates. In these two types of keratins the central approximately 300 residue long regions share approximately 30% homology both with one another and with the sequences of other IF proteins. Within this region, all IF proteins are predicted to contain four helical domains demarcated from one another by three regions of beta-turns. The amino and carboxy termini of the Type II keratin are very different from those of microfibrillar keratins and other nonkeratin IF proteins. However, they contain unusual glycine-rich tandem repeats similar to the amino terminus of the Type I keratin. Thus the size heterogeneity among keratins appears to be a result of differences in the length of the terminal ends rather than the structurally conserved central region.