A gene cluster of three to five high-cysteine keratin-associated proteins (KAPs) has been identified on mouse Chromosome 10 (MMU10) in the region of conserved linkage with human chromosome 21 (HSA21). One of these genes, Krtap12-1, has been sequenced in its entirety and shown to be an intronless gene encoding a predicted 130-amino-acid protein. Krtap12-1 is most closely related to two previously identified KAP4 genes, but variation in sequence and cysteine content suggests that it represents a new KAP family. Krtap12-1 is expressed in the skin of a 3-day-old mouse. The corresponding region of HSA21, between ITGB2 (integrin β2) and PFKL (the liver isoform of phosphofructokinase), has proven refractory to cloning, and thus mapping of this region at high resolution has been problematic. Based on the KAP gene cluster position in mouse, evidence has been found for an orthologous human KAP cluster on HSA21q22.3, reinforcing the observation that comparative genomics can play an essential and practical role in determining mammalian genome organization.
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