Ul

TRs mEƖSJJ

Old gpV New gC

gpn gB

gplll gH

gpVI

gpIV gpl g! sE

Figure 1 Diagram of the VZV genome. The VZV genome contains about 71 open reading frames. The locations of the glycoprotein genes are designated by their gene numbers. Both the old and the new nomenclatures are listed. UL, unique long sequence; US, unique short sequence; IRs, internal repeated sequence; TRs, terminal repeated sequence.

98 kDa product which is the main component within the membrane of the infected cell. This glycoprotein is easily identified in cells removed from a chicken-pox or zoster vesicle. Therefore, it is an ideal antigen for rapid diagnosis of VZV infection with a monoclonal antibody probe. Monoclonal antibodies to this antigen have neutralization activity only in the presence of an exogenous source of complement.

Varicella-zoster virus gB is a 140 kDa product which is the second most prominent viral glycoprotein constituent of the infected cell membrane. Antibodies to this glycoprotein exhibit complement-independent neutralization as evidenced by their ability to reduce VZV plaque formation. The same antibodies inhibit VZV-induced cell-to-cell fusion in infected monolayers. The third glycoprotein, VZV gH, has a molecular weight of 118 kDa. This glycoprotein is barely detectable in the membrane or infected cells. However, of the three major glycoproteins, it appears to possess the most immunogenic neutralization epitope. Monoclonal antibodies to VZV gH have the ability to inhibit plaque formation at dilutions of 1:40 000. Glycoprotein gL forms a complex with gH and, likewise, gl forms a complex with gE. The gE/gl complex can bind to the Fc portion of immunoglobulin G (IgG) and both components of the complex contain phosphorylation sites in their cytoplasmic tails. In addition to the glycoproteins, other virally encoded proteins are important antigens, but they have been less weli characterized.

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