A DNA fragment of the herpes simplex virus type 1 genome encoding glycoprotein C (gC-1) has been cloned into different eukaryotic expression vectors for transient and stable expression of the glycoprotein in a number of cell lines. All of these expression vectors use a non-HSV promoter, such as the adenovirus major late promoter or murine leukaemia virus long terminal repeat promoter to express gC-1 in COS and CHO cells or 3T3 cells. The gC-1 protein synthesized was fully glycosylated with both N- and O-linked oligosaccharides. Synthesis of the mature 120K gC-1 glycoprotein involved partially glycosylated 100K and 105K proteins and the non-glycosylated 70K protein as intermediate molecules. Immunofluorescence studies showed that the expressed gC-1 was localized intracellulary in the nuclear envelope as well as on the cell surface. The expressed gC-1 was biologically active and could act as a receptor for the complement component C3b in the absence of other HSV proteins.
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