A proline residue in the α-helical rod domain of type I keratin 16 destabilizes keratin heterotetramers

Matthew Wawersik, Rudolph D. Paladini, Erick Noensie, Pierre A. Coulombe

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40 Scopus citations


The type I keratins 14 (K14) and 16 (K16) are distinct in their assembly properties and their expression pattern despite a high degree of sequence identity. Understanding K16 function and regulation is of interest, given its strong induction in keratinocytes located at the wound edge after injury to stratified epithelia. We reported previously that, compared with K14, K16 forms unstable heterotetramers with either K5 or K6 as the type II keratin pairing partner (Paladini, R. D., Takahashi, K., Bravo, N. S., and Coulombe, P. A. (1996) J. Cell Biol. 132, 381-397). We show here that yet another related type I keratin, K17, forms stable heterotetramers with a variety of type II keratins, further accentuating the unique nature of K16. Analysis of chimeric K14-K16 proteins in a heterotetramer formation assay indicated that the instability determinant resides in a 220-amino acid segment within the α-helical rod domain of K16. Site-directed mutagenesis revealed that Pro188, an amino acid residue located in subdomain 1B of the rod, accounts quantitatively for the instability of K16-containing heterotetramers under denaturing conditions. In vitro polymerization studies suggest that the presence of Pro188 correlates with a reduction in assembly efficiency. In addition to their implications for the stable conformation of the keratin heterotetramers, these findings suggest that the tetramer-forming properties of K16 may influence its partitioning between the soluble and polymer pools, and hence contribute to its regulation in epithelial cells under resting and wound repair conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32557-32565
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number51
StatePublished - Dec 19 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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