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Do hypoallergenic cats exist? -- Determination of major cat allergen Fel d 1 production in normal and hypoallergenic cat breeds

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... Some cat breeds are considered hypoallergenic, but this status is not widely accepted [117,118]. Reduced levels of Fel d 1 in the fur of hypoallergenic cats have been reported [119], and at least two potentially relevant mutations were detected in Fel d 1 genes of Siberian cats, the breed most frequently listed as hypoallergenic [120]. Since such reduced levels of Fel d 1 are considered difficult to propagate [121], alternatives are currently being developed, with most of them involving some immunological intervention. ...
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Background: The relationship between slow loris (Nycticebus spp.) venom (BGE protein) and the major cat allergen (Fel d 1) from domestic cat (Felis catus) is known for about two decades. Along this time, evidence was accumulated regarding convergences between them, including their almost identical mode of action. Methods: Large-scale database mining for Fel d 1 and BGE proteins in Felidae and Nycticebus spp., alignment, phylogeny proposition and molecular modelling, associated with directed literature review were assessed. Results: Fel d 1 sequences for 28 non-domestic felids were identified, along with two additional loris BGE protein sequences. Dimer interfaces are less conserved among sequences, and the chain 1 shows more sequence similarity than chain 2. Post-translational modification similarities are highly probable. Conclusions: Fel d 1 functions beyond allergy are discussed, considering the great conservation of felid orthologs of this protein. Reasons for toxicity being found only in domestic cats are proposed in the context of domestication. The combination of the literature review, genome-derived sequence data, and comparisons with the venomous primate slow loris may point to domestic cats as potentially poisonous mammals.
... It is worth noticing that houses with cats have often airborne levels of Fel d 1, which is more than enough to provoke an asthma crisis in highly sensitive inhabitants [13,14]. In a previous survey [15], the existence of hypoallergenic cats due to a lower production of Fel d 1 protein was stated; thus, the aim of this investigation was to analyze the sequences of the two genes (Ch1 and Ch2) encoding Fel d 1 protein in some Siberian cats, a supposed low level-allergenic breed accordingly to some breeders statement. Notably, our work is the first survey of the genetic structure of these genes in Siberian cats to identify molecular differences between Siberian and non-Siberian cats. ...
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Cats are usually spreaders of allergens that are critical for sensitive people; the Siberian cat is a breed supposed to be low level allergenic, according to some breeders' statements. The sequence of the two genes, namely Ch1 and Ch2, that code for the allergen Fel d 1, the major allergen responsible for outbreaks of allergy symptoms, is not yet known in the Siberian cat, and finding this was the aim of our investigation. Notably, our work is the first survey of the genetic structure of these genes in Siberian cats. The comparison of the sequences of Siberian cats, non-Siberian cats, and sequences present in the National Center for Biotechnology Information database revealed a considerable number of mutations; some of those detected in the Siberian cat, due to their position in exon regions, could affect the Fel d 1 allergenic properties. Therefore, further investigations are recommended to assess if the identified mutations can be responsible for a reduced-allergen synthesis and can be used as markers for selection of low level allergenic cats.
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