The genome of feline herpesvirus type 1 (FHV-1), the major cause of viral upper respiratory disease in cats, contains several genes encoding homologues of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) glycoproteins. Restriction mapping studies have indicated that the group D genome of FHV-1 contains a unique short region that is 9.0 kb long. The nucleotide sequence of a 6.2 kb portion of this region was determined. Analyses of this sequence have identified five open reading frames capable of encoding homologues to HSV-1 protein kinase and glycoproteins gG, gD, gI and gE. Since gD of FHV-1 is most likely an immunologically important polypeptide, vaccinia and raccoon poxvirus recombinants expressing this glycoprotein were generated. In an indirect fluorescent antibody test these recombinants reacted strongly with a rabbit anti-FHV-1 serum. High titres of virus-neutralizing antibodies were also generated in rabbits inoculated with the vaccinia virus recombinant. A 53K viral polypeptide (gD) was detected with this antiserum on Western blots containing polypeptides from potassium tartrate-purified virions.


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