Excitatory amino acid overstimulation of neurons can lead to a marked rise in cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+])i) and be followed by neuron death from hours to days later. If the rise in [Ca2+]i is prevented, either by removing Ca2+ from the extracellular environment or by placing Ca2+ chelators in the cytosol of the stimulated cells, the neurotoxicity associated with excitotoxins can be ameliorated. We have recently shown that neurons infected with a herpes simplex virus amplicon vector expressing cDNA for calbindin D28k responded to hypoglycemia with decreased [Ca2+]i and increased survival relative to controls. We now report that vector-infected neurons respond to glutamatergic insults with lower [Ca2+]i than controls and with increased survival. Infected neurons exposed to sodium cyanide did not respond with lower [Ca2+]i than controls, nor did they demonstrate increased survival postinsult. We examine these results in light of our earlier report and in the context of the potential of vectors like this for neuronal gene therapy.