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The family Paramyxoviridae is composed of enveloped, negative-stranded RNA viruses. The family includes major human pathogens such as measles virus, mumps virus, and respiratory syncytial virus. Also included in the family Paramyxoviridae are important animal pathogens such as Newcastle disease virus and canine distemper virus. Finally, a number of zoonotic paramyxoviruses such as Hendra and Nipah virus have been recently identified. Paramyxovirus RNA genomes encode between six and ten genes, depending on the virus. Two of these encode for the two major glycoproteins: an attachment protein (H, HN, or G) involved in primary receptor binding, and a fusion (F) protein involved in virus–cell membrane fusion. Following entry of the virus into the host cell, the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase activity needed for transcription and replication is provided by the large-polymerase (L) protein and phosphoprotein (P) in conjunction with the nucleocapsid (N) protein, which wraps the viral RNA. Virus assembly is then facilitated by the matrix (M) protein which is thought to interact both with newly synthesized viral glycoproteins and with the nucleocapsid. Many details of the life cycle of these important viruses have been elucidated and effective vaccines are available for a few members of the family. However, many critical questions remain and little antiviral treatment to these pathogens is currently available.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Virology
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1-5
ISBN (Electronic)9780123739353
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Attachment
  • Fusion
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Paramyxoviruses
  • Respiratory pathogens
  • RNA virus
  • Zoonotic viruses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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