Novel allergen structures with tandem amino acid repeats derived from German and American cockroach

J Biol Chem. 1998 Nov 13;273(46):30801-7. doi: 10.1074/jbc.273.46.30801.


Cockroaches produce potent allergens that are an important cause of asthma. The two principal domiciliary cockroach species, Blattella germanica and Periplaneta americana, secrete major allergens, Bla g 1 and Per a 1. Here, we report the molecular cloning of three Bla g 1 cDNA clones, which showed 70% amino acid sequence identity with Per a 1. Plaque immunoassays with human IgE antibodies or murine monoclonal antibodies showed that these allergens were antigenically cross-reactive. The Bla g 1 sequences also showed homology to five previously undefined cockroach allergen sequences. An unusual feature of all these sequences was that they contained multiple tandem amino acid repeats of approximately 100 amino acid residues. Between one and seven repeat units were identified by dot-plot matrix analysis. The sequences also showed homology to a mosquito protein involved in digestion (ANG12 precursor) and to mitochondrial energy transfer proteins. High levels of Bla g 1 were found in cockroach hindgut and proventriculus. Amino acid sequencing of natural Bla g 1 and Per a 1 suggested that these allergens are cleaved by trypsin-like enzymes following secretion into the digestive tract. The repeat sequences appear to have evolved by duplication of an ancestral amino acid domain, which may have arisen from the mitochondrial energy transfer proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / chemistry*
  • Allergens / genetics
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Plant
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Cockroaches / genetics
  • Cockroaches / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Insect Proteins / chemistry
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Repetitive Sequences, Amino Acid*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • ANG12 precursor protein, Anopheles gambiae
  • Allergens
  • Antigens, Plant
  • Insect Proteins
  • allergen Bla g 1
  • allergen Per a I

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF072219
  • GENBANK/AF072220
  • GENBANK/AF072221
  • GENBANK/AF072222