The gene (US4) coding for herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) glycoprotein G (gG-2) was cloned and constitutively expressed in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. The expression vector containing the dihydrofolate reductase (dhfr) gene, and the HSV-2 US4 gene under the control of the Simian virus 40 early promoter (SV40 EP), was transfected into dhfr-deficient CHO cells. The transfected cells were selected and amplified using methotrexate (MTX). To demonstrate that the gG-2 produced in these transformed cells had antigenic determinants in common with the native glycoprotein, CHO cells expressing gG-2 were used in an immunofluorescent assay (IFA) for the detection of HSV-2 type-specific antibodies in human serum samples. Seven of eight serum samples from adults with prior episodes of culture proven HSV-2 infections were found to be positive by the IFA method whereas none of seven serum samples from young children with culture documented HSV-1 infections were positive by IFA. Thus the recombinant CHO : gG-2 cells have diagnostic utility in an HSV-2 specific serologic assay.
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