Mutagenesis of the varicella-zoster virus genome: lessons learned

  • J. I. Cohen
Conference paper


The varicella-zoster virus (VZV) genome encodes at least 70 genes. We have developed a cosmid based system to inactivate individual viral genes or to insert foreign genes into the genome. We have shown that many VZV genes are not required for replication of the virus in cell culture. Several of these genes, including VZV ORF61, ORF47, and ORF10, have unexpected phenotypes in cell culture and differ from their homologs in the better studied herpes simplex virus (HSV). We have also used the Oka strain of VZV as a live virus vaccine vector. Guinea pigs vaccinated with recombinant VZV expressing HSV-2 glycoprotein D and challenged with HSV-2 have reduced severity of primary genital herpes and reduced mortality compared to animals receiving parental VZV. Recently we have inserted the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) glycoprotein 160 genes into the Oka strain of VZV and have shown that these proteins are expressed in recombinant virus-infected cells. Thus, directed mutagenesis of the VZV genome is providing new insights into viral pathogenesis and may provide new candidate vaccines.


Herpes Simplex Virus Type Simian Immunodeficiency Virus ORF47 Protein Ring Finger Domain Herpes Simplex Virus Mutant 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. I. Cohen
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Medical Virology Section, Laboratory of Clinical InvestigationNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Medical Virology Section, Laboratory of Clinical InvestigationNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA

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