Ribonucleic Acids Coding for the Keratin Complex of Hair

  • G. E. Rogers
  • M. J. Frenkel
  • R. A. Lock
Conference paper


Keratinization in hair follicles is a highly regulated event typical of eukaryotic development and differentiation. There occurs a controlled expression of those genes coding for the different classes of keratin proteins which participate in the organized assembly of the keratin complex in cortical cells. Studies have been conducted on translation as it occurs in in vitro follicle systems (for example see Steinert and Rogers, 1971) but nothing is known of keratin gene function in terms of transcriptional events. The keratin proteins, however, have been examined closely and categorized into three major classes on the basis of molecular weight and chemical properties. They are the low-sulfur group, the high-sulfur group and the high-glycine-tyrosine group (Table 1). Their distribution within the keratin complex is known in broad terms, but details of the structural framework are far from being elucidated (Crewther, 1976). A major problem in our understanding is the extent of the complexity of each protein group and how it originated. From amino acid composition and sequence data it is apparent that the proteins of each group are homologous. Although it is not known precisely how much of the protein complexity is genetic and whether some of it has originated from posttranslational modifications or is an experimentally induced artifact, it remains clear that we are dealing with three major sets or classes of genes, each of which is composed of more than one multigene family.


Hair Follicle Sucrose Gradient Keratin Protein Vanadyl Sulfate Hair Keratin 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. E. Rogers
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. J. Frenkel
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. A. Lock
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryThe University of AdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Division of Protein ChemistryC.S.I.R.O.MelbourneAustralia

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