The gpII glycoprotein of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) was produced in CV1 cells via vaccinia virus recombinants. Two different DNA constructs were expressed: the first one encodes the complete gpII protein (gpII sa) and the second a truncated species lacking the membrane anchorage domain (gpII sa). To achieve expression both coding sequences had to be engineered at the 5′ end by substituting the unusually short (24 bp) natural signal sequence by a more conventional one encoding 29 amino acids. Recombinant gpII proteins were detected in vaccinia virus-infected cells by ELISA and immunoprecipitation. Both forms of recombinant gpII proteins were produced as glycosylated single-chain molecules of respectively 110K and 90K. Upon reduction these were only partially converted into subunits. A rabbit infected with the vaccinia virus recombinant expressing the complete gpII produced antibodies which recognized VZV antigens and neutralized VZV infectivity , independent of complement.


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