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. This cytokeratin is a major cellular protein of mature enterocytes and goblet cells and is specifically expressed in the gastric and intestinal mucosa. The type I cytokeratin genes are clustered in a region of chromosome 17q12-q21.