Two of the genes identified from the previously published DNA sequence of the U component of the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) genome were predicted to encode membrane proteins with polypeptide molecular weights of 39 000 (39K) and 70K. A rabbit antiserum directed against a unique peptide containing the seven amino acid residues at the carboxy terminus of the 39K gene product specifically precipitated glycoproteins with apparent molecular weights of 55K and 45K from VZV-infected cells labelled with [H]mannose. The complete inhibition of precipitation of gp55 by free peptide and the partial inhibition of precipitation of gp45 support the conclusion that the 39K gene encodes gp55 and perhaps gp45. The number of VZV genes currently thought to encode glycoproteins is discussed in view of this finding.


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