The protein encoded by this gene is a member of the keratin family. The keratins are intermediate filament proteins responsible for the structural integrity of epithelial cells and are subdivided into cytokeratins and hair keratins. The type I cytokeratins consist of acidic proteins which are arranged in pairs of heterotypic keratin chains. The type I cytokeratin genes are clustered in a region of chromosome 17q12-q21.
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