Keratins are everywhere, from being the major components of household dust to common contaminants of laboratory protein analysis. Keratin is the major structural fibrous protein belonging to the large family of structural proteins to form hair, wool, feathers, nails, and horns of many kinds of animals and has a high concentration of cysteine, 7–20% of the total amino acid residues, that form inter- and intramolecular disulfide bonds. Keratin wastes are considered as the environmental pollutants and produced mostly from the poultry farms, slaughterhouses, and leather industries. Keratin wastes are dumped, buried, used for landfilling, or incinerated and all these actions increase the threats of environmental hazards, pollution, negatively influence the public health, and increase greenhouse gases concentration. Nature has provided planet Earth with a variety of beneficial organisms. Soil is considered as a well-known source for the growth of keratinophilic microflora (fungi and bacteria), which have the capability to degrade the keratin waste. The keratin-degradation ability of keratinophilic microflora has been credited with the production of the microbial keratinase enzyme and biodegradation takes place (enzymatic degradation). So, the keratin wastes are the biodegradable polymers. Keratinase is the industrially significant enzyme that offers bioconversion of keratin waste, utilization as animal feed supplements, and dehairing agents in tannery industries and textile industries.
Part of the book: Keratin
Cytokeratins are keratinous protein and assist cells to reduce mechanical stress on the intracytoplasmic layer of epithelial tissue. There are several unspecified mutations in the epithelial layer that may induces by environmental mutagens and pathogens. The unspecified mutations in the epithelium surface also disrupt biology of skin at multiple different levels and cause innate keratinizing disorders. These serve as a root generator of neurohormones and neuropeptides which mainly partake in the disruption. Generally, all 54 unique genes of human keratin partake in mutations and cause cutaneous tissue fragility, skin hypertrophic, and malignant transformation. In this chapter, unspecific factors that involved in the pathogenesis of skin diseases and the ways by which such keratin changes might harness to alleviate different skin conditions are also included. Consequently, the contribution of environmental changes in the frontier of mutations or misregulations of the cytokeratin genes, is also cited here.
Part of the book: Cytogenetics