The objective of this study was to examine the protective efficacy of purified recombinant herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) glycoprotein E (gE-1) in the mouse lethal challenge model. A secreted form of gE-1 (hgE-1s) protein, containing amino acids 1-406, was produced in human cells by using the episomal replicating pRP-RSV expression vector. In addition, a portion of the gE-1 (bgE-1t) protein corresponding to amino acids 90-406, was expressed in as a fusion protein with maltose binding protein using the pMAL-c2 expression vector. Mice vaccinated with hgE-1s developed high serum titres of HSV-1-neutralizing antibodies and were significantly protected from intraperitoneal lethal HSV-1 challenge, whereas mice vaccinated with bgE-1t exhibited only moderate levels of protective immunity. These results demonstrate that the expression of gE-1 in human cells has a strong impact on its protective efficacy and that most importantly the hgE-1s protein could be of value as a component of an HSV multi-subunit vaccine.


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