Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 319–329 | Cite as

Evolution of keratin genes: Different protein domains evolve by different pathways

  • Elaine M. Klinge
  • Yolande R. Sylvestre
  • Irwin M. Freedberg
  • Miroslav Blumenberg


Intermediate filaments are composed of a family of proteins that evolved from a common ancestor. The proteins consist of three domains: a central, alpha-helical domain similar in all intermediate filaments, bracketed by two domains that are variable in length and structure. Within the intermediate-filament family, several subfamilies have been recognized by immunologic and nucleic acid hybridization techniques. In this paper we present the sequence of the genomic DNA coding for a 65-kilodalton human keratin and compare it with the sequences of other intermediate-filament proteins. While the central, alpha-helical domains of these proteins show homologies that indicate a common ancestor, the sequences of the variable terminal domains indicate that the variable domains evolved through a series of tandem duplications and possibly by gene-conversion mechanisms.

Key words

Intermediate filaments Gene families DNA sequence Tandem duplication Protein domains Glycine-rich regions 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elaine M. Klinge
    • 1
  • Yolande R. Sylvestre
    • 1
  • Irwin M. Freedberg
    • 1
  • Miroslav Blumenberg
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of DermatologyNew York University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiochemistryNew York University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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