The type I keratin 19 possesses distinct and context-dependent assembly properties

Julie Fradette, Lucie Germain, Partha Seshaiah, Pierre A. Coulombe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Keratins (K), the cytoplasmic intermediate filament (IF) proteins of epithelial cells, are encoded by a multigene family and expressed in a tissue- and differentiation-specific manner. In human skin, keratinocytes of the basal layer of epidermis and the outer root sheath of hair follicles express K5 and K14 as their main keratins. A small subpopulation of basal cells exhibiting stem-cell like characteristics express, in addition, K19. At 40 kDa, this keratin is the smallest IF protein due to an exceptionally short carboxyl-terminal domain. We examined the assembly properties of K19 and contrasted them to K14 in vitro and in vivo. Relative to KS-K14, we find that KS-K19 form less stable tetramers that polymerize into shorter and narrower IFs in vitro. When transiently co-expressed in cultured baby hamster kidney cells, the K5 and K19 combination fails to form a filamentous array, whereas the K5-K14 and KS-K19 ones readily do so. Transient expression of K19 in the epithelial cell lines T51B-Ni and A431 results in its integration into the endogenous keratin network with minimal if any perturbation. Collectively, these results indicate that K19 possesses assembly properties that are distinct from those of K14 and suggest that it may impart unique properties to the basal cells expressing it in skin epithelia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35176-35184
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number52
StatePublished - Dec 25 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'The type I keratin 19 possesses distinct and context-dependent assembly properties'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this