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KRT86 gene

keratin 86

Normal Function

The KRT86 gene provides instructions for making the type II hair keratin K86 protein (K86). This protein belongs to a group of proteins known as keratins, which are tough, fibrous proteins that form the structural framework of cells that make up the hair, skin, and nails. Each keratin protein partners with another keratin protein to form molecules called intermediate filaments. These filaments assemble into strong networks that provide strength and resiliency to the tissues and protect them from being damaged by everyday physical stresses. The K86 protein is found in cells that make up the inner compartment of the hair shaft known as the cortex, and this protein helps give hair its strength and elasticity.

Health Conditions Related to Genetic Changes


Several mutations in the KRT86 gene can cause monilethrix, a hair condition characterized by strands of hair with a beaded appearance and short, brittle hair that breaks easily. Mutations associated with this condition change a single protein building block (amino acid) in the K86 protein. The amino acid changes usually occur in a region of the K86 protein thought to be important in intermediate filament formation. In people with monilethrix, the cortex of the affected hair shaft appears abnormal. However, it is unclear how mutations in the KRT86 gene are related to the abnormality in the cortex or the beaded appearance of the hair.

More About This Health Condition

Other Names for This Gene

  • hair keratin K2.11
  • hard keratin, type II, 6
  • HB6
  • hHb6
  • K86
  • keratin 86, type II
  • keratin K-86
  • keratin protein HB6
  • keratin-86
  • KRTHB6
  • MNX
  • type II hair keratin Hb6

Additional Information & Resources

Tests Listed in the Genetic Testing Registry

Scientific Articles on PubMed

Catalog of Genes and Diseases from OMIM

Gene and Variant Databases


  • Djabali K, Panteleyev AA, Lalin T, Garzon MC, Longley BJ, Bickers DR, Zlotogorski A, Christiano AM. Recurrent missense mutations in the hair keratin gene hHb6 in monilethrix. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2003 Mar;28(2):206-10. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2230.2003.01196.x. Citation on PubMed
  • Hofmann I, Winter H, Mucke N, Langowski J, Schweizer J. The in vitro assembly of hair follicle keratins: comparison of cortex and companion layer keratins. Biol Chem. 2002 Sep;383(9):1373-81. doi: 10.1515/BC.2002.156. Citation on PubMed
  • Korge BP, Hamm H, Jury CS, Traupe H, Irvine AD, Healy E, Birch-MacHin M, Rees JL, Messenger AG, Holmes SC, Parry DA, Munro CS. Identification of novel mutations in basic hair keratins hHb1 and hHb6 in monilethrix: implications for protein structure and clinical phenotype. J Invest Dermatol. 1999 Oct;113(4):607-12. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1747.1999.00722.x. Citation on PubMed
  • Langbein L, Rogers MA, Winter H, Praetzel S, Schweizer J. The catalog of human hair keratins. II. Expression of the six type II members in the hair follicle and the combined catalog of human type I and II keratins. J Biol Chem. 2001 Sep 14;276(37):35123-32. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M103305200. Epub 2001 Jul 9. Citation on PubMed
  • Rogers MA, Langbein L, Praetzel S, Moll I, Krieg T, Winter H, Schweizer J. Sequences and differential expression of three novel human type-II hair keratins. Differentiation. 1997 Feb;61(3):187-94. doi: 10.1046/j.1432-0436.1997.6130187.x. Citation on PubMed
  • Schweizer J, Bowden PE, Coulombe PA, Langbein L, Lane EB, Magin TM, Maltais L, Omary MB, Parry DA, Rogers MA, Wright MW. New consensus nomenclature for mammalian keratins. J Cell Biol. 2006 Jul 17;174(2):169-74. doi: 10.1083/jcb.200603161. Epub 2006 Jul 10. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Winter H, Rogers MA, Langbein L, Stevens HP, Leigh IM, Labreze C, Roul S, Taieb A, Krieg T, Schweizer J. Mutations in the hair cortex keratin hHb6 cause the inherited hair disease monilethrix. Nat Genet. 1997 Aug;16(4):372-4. doi: 10.1038/ng0897-372. Citation on PubMed

The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.