Keratins are intermediate filament proteins responsible for the structural integrity of epithelial cells and are subdivided into epithelial keratins and hair keratins. This genes expression profile shows that it encodes a type II epithelial keratin, although structurally the encoded protein is more like a type II hair keratin. This protein is involved in cell differentiation, localizing near desmosomal plaques in earlier stages of differentiation but then dispersing throughout the cytoplasm in terminally differentiating cells. The type II keratins are clustered in a region of chromosome 12q13. Two transcript variants encoding two different fully functional isoforms have been found for this gene.