Several vaccinia virus (VV)-varicella-zoster virus (VZV) recombinants expressing glycoprotein I (gpI) of VZV were isolated from the Prague strain of VV. One of these, v46, was inoculated intraperitoneally into mice. Groups of mice were bled 4 and 8 weeks later and their sera were examined for anti-VZV and anti-VV antibodies by ELISA. At 4 weeks, all mice inoculated with the three largest virus doses (10, 10 and 10 p.f.u.), and at 8 weeks all mice inoculated with the four highest virus doses (10, 10, 10 and 10 p.f.u.), had developed both anti-VV and anti-VZV antibodies. Antibodies were also detected in a high proportion of mice infected with lower doses of virus and in some instances VZV antibodies were present in the absence of VV antibodies. None of the animals inoculated in parallel with either a thymidine kinase-negative mutant of the original VV or diluent alone developed antibody reactive with VZV. The specificity of the reaction was assessed further by Western blotting using anti-gpI monoclonal antibodies as a positive control. Sera from animals immunized with v46 possessed antibody capable of neutralizing extracellular VZV in the presence of complement.


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