Evolutionary Biology and Gene Editing of Cat Allergen, Fel d 1

CRISPR J. 2022 Apr;5(2):213-223. doi: 10.1089/crispr.2021.0101. Epub 2022 Mar 28.


Allergy to domestic cat affects up to 15% of the population, and sensitization to cat allergen is associated with asthma. Despite the pervasiveness of cat allergic disease, current treatments have limited impact. Here, we present a bioinformatics analysis of the major cat allergen, Fel d 1, and demonstrate proof of principle for CRISPR gene editing of the allergen. Sequence and structural analyses of Fel d 1 from 50 domestic cats identified conserved coding regions in genes CH1 and CH2 suitable for CRISPR editing. Comparative analyses of Fel d 1 and orthologous sequences from eight exotic felid species determined relatively low-sequence identities for CH1 and CH2, and implied that the allergen may be nonessential for cats, given the apparent lack of evolutionary conservation. In vitro knockouts of domestic cat Fel d 1 using CRISPR-Cas9 yielded editing efficiencies of up to 55% and found no evidence of editing at predicted potential off-target sites. Taken together, our data indicate that Fel d 1 is both a rational and viable candidate for gene deletion, which may profoundly benefit cat allergy sufferers by removing the major allergen at the source.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allergens* / chemistry
  • Allergens* / genetics
  • Animals
  • Biology
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems / genetics
  • Cats
  • Gene Editing
  • Glycoproteins / chemistry
  • Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Hypersensitivity* / genetics
  • Hypersensitivity* / therapy


  • Allergens
  • Glycoproteins