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Keratins are the predominant intermediate filament proteins in the nonneuronal cells of the goldfish optic nerve. At least three different keratin pairs are expressed in this tissue, indicating an unexpected complexity. Expression of the type II keratin ON3 in goldfish optic nerve astrocytes predicts the expression of a type I keratin partner. Here we report the cDNA sequence and predicted amino acid sequence of two type I keratins from the goldfish optic nerve, designated GK48 and GK49. The GK48 protein is the goldfish equivalent of mammalian keratin 18 (K18) and is the most likely type I keratin partner to the ON3 protein. The GK49 protein is similar to the GK50 protein, a type I keratin characterized previously from the goldfish optic nerve. The GK48 and ON3 mRNAs are expressed in a variety of goldfish tissues, whereas the expression of GK49 mRNA has a more limited expression. In addition, in situ hybridization experiments show that the expression of the GK48 and ON3 mRNAs are evenly distributed throughout the optic nerve, while the GK49 mRNA is expressed along longitudinal lines. These results show that there is a diversity of keratin expression within different cell types in the goldfish optic nerve.