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J Med Virol. 1998 Sep;56(1):79-84.

Identification of an immunodominant sequential epitope in glycoprotein G of herpes simplex virus type 2 that is useful for serotype-specific diagnosis.

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MRC Virology Unit, University of Glasgow, Scotland.


A series of 67 oligopeptides that spanned the open reading frame of herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) glycoprotein G (gG2) were synthesized and tested for reactivity with 173 serum specimens collected from 117 individuals. The oligopeptides were made as multiple antigenic peptides consisting of four copies of a unique sequence attached to a branched lysine core and separated from the core by four glycine residues. The sera included HSV antibody-negative samples as well as sera from individuals from whom HSV had been isolated. Isolated viruses were typed by indirect fluorescence using a panel of type-specific monoclonal antibodies. One peptide, corresponding to residues 561 to 578 of gG2, did not react with any sera lacking HSV-specific antibodies of with sera from HSV-1-infected individuals, but did react with sera from HSV-2-infected individuals. For sera taken seven or more days after initialclinical lesions, the detection rate of the peptide was 92% (47/51), comparable with the 98% (50/51) of truncated glycoprotein D, a sensitive type-common reagent. We conclude that this peptide, of structure (PEEFEGAGDGEPPEDDDSG4)K3A, is an immunodominant type-specific epitope for human antibodies and should be useful for type-specific serodiagnosis of HSV-2. Surprisingly, the epitope lies within one of the most conserved regions of gG1 and gG2. The test can distinguish an initial HSV-2 infection in the presence of a preexisting HSV-1 infection.

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