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We report the cloning of an intermediate filament (IF) cDNA from the cephalochordate amphioxus that encodes a protein assignable to the type I keratin group. This is the first type I keratin reported from an invertebrate. Molecular phylogenetic analyses reveal that amphioxus also possesses a type II keratin, and that the genes encoding short-rod IF proteins underwent different patterns of duplication in vertebrates and their closest relatives, the cephalochordates. Extensive IF gene duplication and divergence may have facilitated the origin of new specialised cell types in vertebrates.


Journal article


J Exp Zool

Publication Date





50 - 56


Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Base Sequence, Chordata, Nonvertebrate, Evolution, Molecular, Gene Duplication, Genetic Variation, Humans, Intermediate Filament Proteins, Keratins, Mice, Molecular Sequence Data, Phylogeny, Rats, Sequence Alignment, Xenopus