Use of a bacterial expression vector to map the varicella-zoster virus major glycoprotein gene, gC.

R. W. Ellis, P. M. Keller, R. S. Lowe, R. A. Zivin

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24 Scopus citations


The genome of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) encodes at least three major glycoprotein genes. Among viral gene products, the gC gene products are the most abundant glycoproteins and induce a substantial humoral immune response (Keller et al., J. Virol. 52:293-297, 1984). We utilized two independent approaches to map the gC gene. Small fragments of randomly digested VZV DNA were inserted into a bacterial expression vector. Bacterial colonies transformed by this vector library were screened serologically for antigen expression with monoclonal antibodies to gC. Hybridization of the plasmid DNA from a gC antigen-positive clone revealed homology to the 3' end of the VZV Us segment. In addition, mRNA from VZV-infected cells was hybrid selected by a set of VZV DNA recombinant plasmids and translated in vitro, and polypeptide products were immunoprecipitated by convalescent zoster serum or by monoclonal antibodies to gC. This analysis revealed that the mRNA encoding a 70,000-dalton polypeptide precipitable by anti-gC antibodies mapped to the HindIII C fragment, which circumscribes the entire Us region. We conclude that the VZV gC glycoprotein gene maps to the 3' end of the Us region and is expressed as a 70,000-dalton primary translational product. These results are consistent with the recently reported DNA sequence of Us (A.J. Davison, EMBO J. 2:2203-2209, 1983). Furthermore, glycosylation appears not to be required for a predominant portion of the antigenicity of gC glycoproteins. We also report the tentative map assignments for eight other VZV primary translational products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-88
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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