Glycoprotein G-2 (gG-2) of herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is cleaved to a secreted amino-terminal portion (sgG-2) and to a cell-associated carboxy-terminal portion which is further O-glycosylated to constitute the mature gG-2 (mgG-2). In contrast to mgG-2, which is known to elicit a type-specific antibody response in the human host, information on the immunogenic properties of sgG-2 is lacking. Here the sgG-2 protein was purified on a heparin column and used for production of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). Four anti-sgG-2 mAbs were mapped using a Pepscan technique and identified linear epitopes which localized to the carboxy-terminal part of the protein. One additional anti-sgG-2 mAb, recognizing a non-linear epitope, was reactive to three discrete peptide stretches where the most carboxy-terminally located stretch was constituted by the amino acids (320)RRAL(323). Although sgG-2 is rapidly secreted into the cell-culture medium after infection, the anti-sgG-2 mAbs identified substantial amounts of sgG-2 in the cytoplasm of HSV-2-infected cells. All of the anti-sgG-2 mAbs were HSV-2 specific showing no cross-reactivity to HSV-1 antigen or to HSV-1-infected cells. Similarly, sera from 50 HSV-2 isolation positive patients were all reactive to sgG-2 in an enzyme immunoassay whilst no reactivity was seen in 25 sera from HSV-1 isolation positive patients or in 25 serum samples from HSV-negative patients suggesting that sgG-2 is a novel antigen potentially suitable for type-discriminating serodiagnosis.