The DNA sequence of the equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1) gD gene homologue has been determined for the strain Ab1 and compared with previously published sequences. A portion of the gene has been located to a region of the genome which also encodes homologues of the herpes simplex virus type 1 genes for gE and gI and is known to encode an epitope of the virion protein gp17/18. Analysis of the EHV-1 strain Kentucky A (KyA) by DNA hybridization showed the presence of a gD gene homologue and established the absence of genes for gI and gE. Western blot analysis, however, showed that KyA virus particles contain gp17/18, thus indicating that this protein is encoded by the gD gene homologue. The KyA gp17/18 was found to be smaller than that detected in other strains and this is accounted for by a frameshift mutation in the KyA sequence relative to Ab1. The mutation in the KyA strain results in an altered C-terminal sequence and could explain the apparent structural differences suggested by the reactivities with monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). We have also expressed part of the Ab1 gD gene as a fusion protein with glutathione -transferase in and shown that this reacts with the MAb 5H6 originally used to map gp17/18. These experiments establish that gp17/18 is encoded by the gD gene homologue.


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