Recombinant vaccinia viruses (VV) expressing the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) glycoprotein H (gH) or glycoprotein L (gL) were constructed. The 94 kDa gH intermediate glycoprotein was synthesized in cell cultures infected with the VV-gH recombinant, but only coinfection with both recombinants resulted in the synthesis of the fully processed 118 kDa gH molecule. The VV-expressed gH and gL formed a complex that displayed the conformational neutralization epitope detectable by means of human VZV gH-specific monoclonal antibody V3. Formation of this epitope was inhibited by tunicamycin but not by monensin. Simultaneous intraperitoneal inoculation of mice with high doses of both VV-gH and VV-gL viruses resulted in the development of VZV-neutralizing, complement-independent antibodies; these antibodies were not detected in mice infected solely with either the VV-gH or the VV-gL recombinant.


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