Retrovirus-mediated transgenic keratin expression in cultured fibroblasts: specific domain functions in keratin stabilization and filament formation.
Lu X., Lane EB.
With retrovirus-mediated gene transfer, we used intact and deleted keratin proteins to investigate the molecular basis of intermediate filament function. Three levels of assembly show a different stringency for the involvement of individual keratin domains: protein accumulation requires the alpha helix domains; stable filament formation additionally requires both N- and C-terminal domains of either one of the two interacting keratins, suggesting that head to tail homotypic interaction is important for effective elongation; and higher order organization of the cytoplasmic network depends on correct type I-type II pairing of keratins. The presence of two distinct interaction sites along potentially different axes may explain the characteristic morphology of keratin intermediate filament networks.