School of Biomedical Sciences
The Chinese University of Hong Kong 香港中文大學

A study led by Prof. Stephen K.W. Tsui, Professor and Associate Director (Research) of the School of Biomedical Sciences (SBS), CUHK with researchers from CUHK and universities in Shenzhen and Thailand, has recently made a ground-breaking study of the genome sequencing of the American cockroach (Periplaneta americana) that identified more of their allergens. The team unravelled the world’s most comprehensive genome profile for the American cockroach and identified seven novel cockroach allergens on top of the existing 13. The study’s exciting findings lay important foundations for identifying and cloning major cockroach allergens, facilitating the design of effective immunotherapy for cockroach allergy. The results have been published in the international journal Allergy, which can be viewed HERE.

The research group led by Prof. Stephen Tsui, the co-corresponding author of the paper, has been working on the genomics of allergen sources for more than a decade. He has been collaborating with Prof. Anchalee Tungtrongchitr, another co-corresponding author of the paper and an international expert on cockroach allergy from Thailand’s Mahidol University, on cockroach genomics and allergy since 2018. In this study, they focused on the American cockroach, which possesses a larger genome size compared with the other common allergy-triggering species, the German cockroach.

Prof. Leung Ting-fan, Professor in the Department of Paediatrics, CU Medicine is the collaborator in this project. The SBS members taking part in the study include Dr. Wang Lingyi and Dr. Xiong Qing, Postdoctoral Fellows of SBS as first and co-first authors, respectively; as well as Dr. Wang Lin, Dr. Angel T.Y. Wan, Dr. Shi Mai, PhD Graduates of SBS, Prof. Cao Qin, Research Assistant Professor of SBS, as co-authors.

The related coverage by the Communications and Public Relations Office, CUHK can be viewed HERE, whereas the one by CU Medicine is viewable HERE.

(From left) Dr. Xiong Qing, Prof. Stephen Tsui, and Prof. Leung Ting-fan at the press conference

Prof. Stephen Tsui and his research team discover that an extensive range of gene family variations is found in the American cockroach genome, which accounts for the cockroaches’ high viability