Keratin intermediate filament (KIF) genes encode key proteins for hair and wool formation. A total of 17 expressed human KIF genes involved in hair formation are annotated. However, to date, only eight wool KIF genes have been reported. In this study, six new cDNA sequences (KRT32, KRT33B, KRT34, KRT39, KRT40 and KRT82) representing previously unreported wool KIFs were identified using a contiguous ovine sequence library constructed primarily from ESTs. The expression of three other KIF genes (KRT36, KRT84 and KRT87) was confirmed by PCR using sheep skin total RNA. The analogue of human KRT37 (type I) was unable to be identified, while KRT87 (type II) was present in sheep but not in humans. Therefore 10 type I and seven type II KIF family members have been identified in sheep in comparison to 11 and six KIFs in the human. These 17 KIF genes are likely to represent the complete or near-complete set involved in wool formation. The annotation of these genes will facilitate investigation into their patterns of expression in wool follicles and their roles in the determination of fibre attributes.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 70, Palmerston North, 222-228, 2010
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