one of a family of fibrous structural proteins; protein that protects epithelial cells from damage or stress
Variety of animal usesEdit
Keratins are the main constituent of structures that grow from the skin:
- the α-keratins in the hair (including wool), horns, nails, claws and hooves of mammals
- the harder β-keratins in the scales and claws of reptiles, their shells (chelonia, such as tortoise, turtle, terrapin), and in the feathers, beaks, and claws of birds. These keratins are formed mainly in beta sheets. However, beta sheets are also found in α-keratins.
- Kreplak L. et al (2004). "New aspects of the alpha-helix to beta-sheet transition in stretched hard alpha-keratin fibers". Biophys J 87 (1): 640-7. PMID 15240497.