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I'm trying to find a histochemical stain for beta-keratin, the type found in Reptilia which is organized in beta-sheets. It's different than alpha-keratin which is found in mammalian skin, hair, nails, etc., and is formed of alpha-helices.

Simple searches have produced results specific to mammals and alpha-keratin. Are there any good stains for beta-keratin?

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After a quick search, it seems that many people working on beta keratin use specific antibodies. Yet it appears that you could use toluidine blue, but I'm not sure about the specificity regarding alpha/beta keratin. – agrimaldi Dec 16 '11 at 7:15
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but I did some searching around for histochemicals and reptilia. I did come across a paper by L Alibardi, Dipartimento di Biologia evoluzionistica e sperimentale, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy. Now, that exact application doesn't seem to answer your question, it did open up a web page that contained numerous papers on reptilia and their beta-keratin structure and investigations into that (citations of the original paper, as well as papers by the same author). I didn't see any that specifically spoke to the exact stain used, but then this is a little outside my area of expertise. Perhaps this link will give you an avenue to pursue?

Wish I could help more.

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