Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



PLoS One








The Herpevac Trial for Women revealed that three dose HSV-2 gD vaccine was 58% protective against culture-positive HSV-1 genital disease, but it was not protective against HSV-2 infection or disease. To determine whether vaccine-induced immune responses had selected for a particular gD sequence in strains infecting vaccine recipients compared with viruses infecting control subjects, genetic sequencing studies were carried out on viruses isolated from subjects infected with HSV-1 or HSV-2. We identified naturally occurring variants among the gD sequences obtained from 83 infected subjects. Unique or low frequency amino acid substitutions in the ectodomain of gD were found in 6 of 39 HSV-1-infected subjects and in 7 of 44 HSV-2-infected subjects. However, no consistent amino acid change was identified in isolates from gD-2 vaccine recipients compared with infected placebo recipients. gC and gE surround and partially shield gD from neutralizing antibody, and gB also participates closely in the viral entry process. Therefore, these genes were sequenced from a number of isolates to assess whether sequence variation may alter protein conformation and influence the virus strain's capacity to be neutralized by vaccine-induced antibody. gC and gE genes sequenced from HSV-1-infected subjects showed more variability than their HSV-2 counterparts. The gB sequences of HSV-1 oral isolates resembled each other more than they did gB sequences rom genital isolates. Overall, however, comparison of glycoprotein sequences of viral isolates obtained from infected subjects did not reveal any singular selective pressure on the viral cell attachment protein or surrounding glycoproteins due to administration of gD-2 vaccine.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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Open Access