Phosphorylation of paramyxovirus phosphoprotein and its role in viral gene expression

Sandra M. Fuentes, Dengyun Sun, Anthony P. Schmitt, Biao He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Paramyxoviruses include many important human and animal pathogens such as measles virus, mumps virus, human parainfluenza viruses, and respiratory syncytial virus, as well as emerging viruses such as Nipah virus and Hendra virus. The paramyxovirus RNA-dependent RNA polymerase consists of the phosphoprotein (P) and the large protein. Both of these proteins are essential for viral RNA synthesis. The P protein is phosphorylated at multiple sites, probably by more than one host kinase. While it is thought that the phosphorylation of P is important for its role in viral RNA synthesis, the precise role of P protein phosphorylation remains an enigma. For instance, it was demonstrated that the putative CKII phosphorylation sites of the P protein of respiratory syncytial virus play a role in viral RNA synthesis using a minigenome replicon system; however, mutating these putative CKII phosphorylation sites within a viral genome had no effect on viral RNA synthesis, leading to the hypothesis that P protein phosphorylation, at least by CKII, does not play a role in viral RNA synthesis. Recently, it has been reported that the phosphorylation state of the P protein of parainfluenza virus 5, a prototypical paramyxovirus, correlates with the ability of P protein to synthesize viral RNA, indicating that P protein phosphorylation does in fact play a role in viral RNA synthesis. Furthermore, host kinases PLK1, as well as AKT1 have been found to play critical roles in paramyxovirus RNA synthesis through regulation of P protein phosphorylation status. Beyond furthering our understanding of paramyxovirus RNA replication, these recent discoveries may also result in a new paradigm in treating infections caused by these viruses, as host kinases that regulate paramyxovirus replication are investigated as potential targets of therapeutic intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-13
Number of pages5
JournalFuture microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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