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Background: This gene is a member of the type II keratin gene family and encodes a protein with an intermediate filament domain. Keratins are the major structural proteins in epithelial cells, forming a cytoplasmic network of 10 to 12 nm wide intermediate filaments and creating a scaffold that gives cells the ability to withstand mechanical and non-mechanical stresses. The genes of the type II keratin family are located as a gene cluster at 12p13.13. Four pseudogenes of this gene family have been identified.