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Small insects pose certain health hazards in households. For example, the ingestion of fresh vegetables containing small worms and eggs can lead to the transmission and spreading of diseases. Therefore pest control is an integral component of successful crop production. Even the dead bodies and excreted materials of infesting arthropods have an impact on our lives; the number of patients suffering from allergic diseases due to arthropod allergens is continuously increasing. A number of arthropod allergens have been identified and characterized during the last two decades and many studies are in progress to identify new allergens. The World Health Organization and the International Union of Immunological Societies Allergen Nomenclature Subcommittee, which is maintained by several experts in the field, provide systematic nomenclature and assistance for the clear identification of allergens. Investigators who identify new allergens should submit the data to the official web site (http://www.allergen.org). One can also access current references and a list of allergen sources from the allergome (http://www.allergome.org). Our goal is to gain valuable insights on allergens from this wealth of information in order to improve the indoor environment for patients with allergies. I had the honorable opportunity to organize a Hot Topic issue for Protein and Peptide Letters and to work with experts to review allergens from domestic arthropods. This issue includes articles on the following topics: domestic arthropod allergens written by myself, house dust mite allergens written by Dr. Wayne R. Thomas, allergens of Blomia tropicalis, a dominant species of storage mite in tropical and subtropical regions written by Dr. Kaw Yan Chua (this article is published separately: PPL; 2007: 14 (4): 325-333), storage mite allergens written by Dr. Enrique Fernandez-Caldas, cockroach allergens written by Dr. Anna Pomes, silverfish allergens written by Dr. Bianca Barletta, mosquito salivary allergens written by Zhikang Peng, other allergens from miscellaneous arthropods written by Dr. Cheol Woo Kim and the application of recombinant allergens for the diagnosis and immunotherapy of allergic diseases written by Dr. John Donnie A. Ramos. I hope that readers enjoy these topics and that the ideas and information available here contribute to their own research.
Protein & Peptide Letters publishes short papers in all important aspects of protein and peptide research, including structural studies, recombinant expression, function, synthesis, enzymology, immunology, molecular modeling, drug design etc. Manuscripts must have a significant element of novelty, timeliness and urgency that merit rapid publication. Reports of crystallisation, and preliminary structure determinations of biologically important proteins are acceptable. Purely theoretical papers are also acceptable provided they provide new insight into the principles of protein/peptide structure and function.