Contact Information  
Address (Office) E12-4011 Chris WONG
(Lab) N22-3003/3004
Phone (Office) 8822 4487
(Lab) 8822 4131
Fax 8822 2314
Email koonhowong@umac.mo
Web
Education
Ph.D. Department of Genetics, The University of Melbourne, Australia (2007)
BSc (1st Class Hons) Department of Genetics, The University of Melbourne, Australia (2002)
B.Sc. Faculty of Science, The University of Melbourne, Australia (2001)
Diploma Biotechnology, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore (1999)
Positions
2013-present Assistant Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Macau
2008-2013 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, USA
2007-2008 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Genetics, The University of Melbourne, Australia
Research Interests
My research focuses on two broad aims:

  • To understand how pathogenic fungi cause diseases in humans.
  • To understand how transcription is regulated.

Why study Fungal Pathogenesis?

Fungal pathogens are ubiquitous in the environment, but they usually do not post serious threats to people with a healthy immune system. However, fungal pathogens can cause life-threatening diseases in individuals with a compromised immune system. In recent years, the number of immuno-compromised individuals is escalating as chemotherapy, bone marrow-transplant and organ-transplant therapies are becoming common medical procedures. Prevention and treatment of fungal infections has become a major clinical challenge. The situation is exacerbated by the lack of effective anti-fungal therapies with fatality rates of certain fungal infections being as high as 100%. Therefore, understanding fungal pathogenesis has immense medical implications and will provide valuable information towards development of new effective and life-saving anti-fungal treatments.

Why study Transcription Regulation?

Transcription is an essential molecular process whereby stored biological information is retrieved from the genome of living organisms. Proper and precise control of transcription is of fundamental importance to biology. Defects in this process are linked to many human diseases including cancers. The molecular mechanisms of transcriptional regulation in eukaryotic organisms are remarkably conserved from humans to fungi. In fact, much of our current knowledge of transcription regulation has come from fungal studies. Through studying transcription regulation in fungi, my research aims to provide important new information that is directly relevant to transcription regulatory mechanisms in humans.

Representative Publications
Journal Publication

  1. Petrenko, N. *, Jin, Y. *, Dong, L., Wong, K.H. *# and Struhl, K#. “Requirements for RNA polymerase II preinitiation complex formation in vivo.” eLife 2019; 8:e43654. (* Equal contribution; # Corresponding author)
    https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.43654
  2. Kim, S.H., Iyer, K.R., Pardeshi, L., Munoz, J.F., Robbins, N., Cuomo, C.A., Wong, K.H., Cowen, L.E. “Genetic analysis of Candida auris implicates Hsp90 in morphogenesis and Azole tolerance and Cdr1 in Azole resistance.” MBio 2019; 10(1). pII:e02529-18.
    https://mbio.asm.org/content/10/1/e02529-18
  3. Qin, L., Li, A., Tan, K., Guo, S., Chen, Y., Wang, F., and Wong, K.H. “Universal plasmids to facilitate gene deletion and gene tagging in filamentous fungi.” Fungal Genetics and Biology 2019; 125:28-35.
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fgb.2019.01.004
  4. Tan, K., and Wong, K.H. “RNA polymerase II ChIP-seq—a powerful and highly affordable method for studying fungal genomics and physiology.” Biophysical Reviews
    https://rdcu.be/bf1ib
  5. Zhang, B., Lyu, J., Liu, Y., Wu, C., Yang, E.J., Pardeshi, L., Tan, K., Wong, K.H., Chen, Q., Xu, X., Deng C. and Shim, J.S. “BRCA1 deficiency sensitizes breast cancer cells to bromodomain and extra-terminal domain (BET) inhibition.” Oncogene 2018; 37:6341-6356.
    https://doi.org/10.1038/s41388-018-0408-8
  6. Sun, H., Miao, Z., Zhang, X., Chan, U.I., Su, S.M., Guo, S., Wong, K.H., Xu, X., and Deng. C.X. “Single-cell RNA-Seq reveals cell heterogeneity and hierarchy within mouse mammary epithelia.” Journal of Biological Chemistry 2018; 293(22) 8315–8329.
    http://www.jbc.org/content/early/2018/04/17/jbc.RA118.002297
  7. Wang, H., Pardeshi, L.A., Rong, X., Li, E., Wong, K.H., Peng, Y., and Xu, R.H. “Novel variants identified in multiple sclerosis patients from southern China.” Frontiers in Neurology 2018; 9:582.
    https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2018.00582
  8. Veri, A.O., Miao, Z., Shapiro, R.S., Tebbji, F., O’Meara, T.R., Kim, S.H., Colazo, J., Tan, K., Vyas, V.K., Whiteway, M., Robbins, N., Wong, K.H., and Cowen L.E. “Tuning Hsf1 levels drives distinct fungal morphogenetic programs with depletion impairing Hsp90 function and overexpression expanding the target space.” PLoS Genetics 2018; 14(3): e1007270.
    https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1007270
  9. Xie, J.L., Qin, L., Miao, Z., Grys, B.T., Diaz, J.D.L.C., Ting, K., Krieger, J.R., Tong, J., Tan, K., Leach, M.D., Ketela, T., Moran, M.F., Krysan, D.J., Boone, C., Andrews, B.J., Selmecki, A., Wong, K.H., Robbins, N. and Cowen, L.E. “The Candida albicans Transcription Factor Cas5 Couples Stress Responses, Drug Resistance, and Cell Cycle Regulation.” Nature Communications 2017; 8(1):499.
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-00547-y
  10. Petrenko, N. *, Jin, Y. *, Wong, K.H. * and Struhl, K. “Evidence that Mediator is essential for Pol II transcription, but is not a required component of the preinitiation complex in vivo.” eLife 2017; 6:e28447. (* Equal contribution)
    https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.28447.001
  11. Jiang, B., Yan, L., Miao, Z., Li, E.-Q., Wong, K.H. and Xu, R.-H. “Spheroidal formation preserves human stem cells for prolonged time under ambient conditions for facile storage and transportation.” Biomaterials 2017; 133:275-86.
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biomaterials.2017.03.050
  12. Szot, P.S., Yang, A., Wang, X., Parsania, C., Rohm, U., Wong, K.H. and Ho, J.W.K. “PBrowse: a web-based platform for real-time collaborative exploration of genomic data.” Nucleic Acids Research. 2017; 45 (9): e67.
    https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkw1358
  13. Petrenko, N. *, Jin, Y. *, Wong, K.H. *# and Struhl, K#. “Mediator undergoes a compositional change during transcriptional activation.” Molecular Cell. 2016; 64(3):443-454. (* Equal contribution; # Corresponding author)
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2016.09.015

  14. Leach, M.D., Farrer, R.A., Tan, K., Miao, Z., Walker, L.A., Cuomo, C.A., Wheeler, R.T., Brown, A.J.P., Wong, K.H. and Cowen, L.E. “Hsf1 and Hsp90 orchestrate temperature-dependent global transcriptional remodeling and chromatin architecture in Candida albicans.” Nature Communications. 2016 7:11704.
    https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms11704
  15. Wong, K.H. *, Jin, Y. *, and Struhl, K. “TFIIH phosphorylation of the Pol II CTD stimulates Mediator dissociation from the preinitiation complex and promoter escape.” Molecular Cell. 2014; 54(4): 601-612. (* Equal contribution)
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2014.03.024
  16. Downes, D.J., Davis, M.A., Wong, K.H., Kreutzberger, S.D., Hynes, M.J., and Todd, R.B. “Dual DNA binding and coactivator functions of Aspergillus nidulans TamA, a Zn(II)2Cys6 transcription factor.” Molecular Microbiology. 2014 Jun;92(6):1198-211.
    https://doi.org/10.1111/mmi.12620
  17. Hunter, C.C., Siebert, K.S., Downes, D.J., Wong, K.H., Kreutzberger, S.D., Fraser, J.A., Clarke, D.F., Hynes, M.J., Davis, M.A., and Todd, R.B. “Multiple Nuclear Localization Signals Mediate Nuclear Localization of the GATA Transcription Factor AreA.” Eukaryotic Cell. 2014; 13(4):527-38.
    https://ec.asm.org/content/13/4/527
  18. Wong, K.H.*, Jin, Y., and Moqtederi, Z. “Multiplex Illumina sequencing using DNA-barcoding.” Current Protocol in Molecular Biology. 2013; Chapter 7:Unit 7.11. (Invited protocol) (* Corresponding author)
    https://doi.org/10.1002/0471142727.mb0711s101
  19. Suzuki, Y., Murray, S., Wong, K.H., Davis, M.A., and Hynes, M.J. “Reprogramming of carbon metabolism by the transcriptional activators AcuK and AcuM in Aspergillus nidulans.” Molecular Microbiology. 2012 84(5):942-64.
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2958.2012.08067.x
  20. Wong, K.H., and Struhl, K. “The Cyc8−Tup1 complex inhibits transcription primarily by masking the activation domain of the recruiting protein.” Genes and Development. 2011 Dec 1; 25: 2525-2539.
    http://www.genesdev.org/cgi/doi/10.1101/gad.179275.111

  21. Tirosh, I.*, Wong, K.H.*, Barkai, N., and Struhl, K. “Extensive divergence of yeast stress responses through transitions between induced and constitutive activation.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA. 2011 Oct 4; 108(40):16693-8. (* Equal contribution)
    https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1113718108
  22. Suk, K., Choi, J., Suzuki, Y., Ozturk, SB., Mellor, JC., Wong, K.H., MacKay, JL., Gregory, R.I., and Roth, F.P. “Reconstitution of human RNA interference in budding yeast.” Nucleic Acids Research. 2011 Apr; 39(7):e43.
    https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkq1321
  23. Fan, X., Geisberg, J.V., Wong, K.H., and Jin, Y., “Conditional depletion of nuclear proteins by the anchor away system.” Current Protocol in Molecular Biology. 2011 Jan; Chapter 13:Unit13.10B. (Invited protocol)
    https://doi.org/10.1002/0471142727.mb1310bs93
  24. Wong, K.H., Hynes, M.J., Todd, R.B., and Davis, M.A. “Deletion and overexpression of the Aspergillus nidulans GATA factor AreB reveals unexpected pleiotropy.” Microbiology. 2009 Dec; 155(Pt 12):3868-80.
    https://dx.doi.org/10.1099/mic.0.031252-0
  25. Wong, K.H., Hynes, M.J., and Davis, M.A. “Recent advances in nitrogen regulation: a comparison between yeast and filamentous fungi.” Mini-review. Eukaryotic Cell. 2008 7(6):917-925.
    https://ec.asm.org/content/7/6/917
  26. Wong, K.H., Todd, R.B., Oakley, B.R., Oakley, C.E, Hynes, M.J., and Davis, M.A. “Sumoylation in Aspergillus nidulans: sumO inactivation, overexpression and live-cell imaging.” Fungal Genetics and Biology. 2008 45:728-737.
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fgb.2007.12.009
  27. Wong, K.H., Hynes, M.J., Todd, R.B., and Davis, M.A. “Transcriptional control of nmrA by the bZIP transcription factor MeaB reveals a new level of nitrogen regulation in Aspergillus nidulans.” Molecular Microbiology. 2007 66(2):534-551.
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2958.2007.05940.x
  28. Todd, R.B., Fraser, J.A., Wong K.H., Davis, M.A., and Hynes, M.J. “Nuclear accumulation of the GATA factor AreA in response to complete nitrogen starvation by regulation of nuclear export. Eukaryotic Cell. 2005 4(10): 1646-1653.
    https://ec.asm.org/content/4/10/1646.long

Book Chapter

  • Davis, M.A. and Wong K.H. “Chapter 23: Nitrogen Metabolism in Filamentous Fungi.” In: Cellular and Molecular Biology of Filamentous Fungi edited by Borkovich, Katherine A. and Ebbole, Daniel J. © 2010 American Society for Microbiology (ASM). (Invited book chapter)
Awards
2013 Marine Biological Laboratory Scholarship, Marine Biological Laboratory, USA
2009-2010 Croucher Postdoctoral Fellowship,The Croucher Foundation, Hong Kong
2003-2006 International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS), The Australian Government
2003-2006 Melbourne International Research Scholarships (MIRS), The University of Melbourne, Australia
2001-2003 Howitt Natural History Scholarship, The University of Melbourne, Australia
2003 The Department of Genetics Postgraduate Scholarship, The University of Melbourne, Australia
2002 The Department of Genetics Honours Scholarship, The University of Melbourne, Australia
2002 Dean’s Honour List – B.Sc.(Hons), Faculty of Science, The University of Melbourne, Australia
Professional Activities
  • Member of the Genetics Society of America