The complete nucleotide sequence of the P+C mRNA of human parainfluenza virus type 3 (PF3) was determined by sequencing cDNA, viral genomic RNA and mRNA. The P+C mRNA is 2009 nucleotides in length, exclusive of poly(A), and contains two overlapping open reading frames (ORFs). The P+C mRNA encodes two proteins, the 602 amino acid nucleocapsid phosphoprotein P and the 199 amino acid non-structural protein C. Peptide mapping confirmed that the two proteins are unrelated. Hybridarrest translation experiments assigned each of the two proteins to its respective ORF. These studies showed that the coding strategy of the PF3 P+C mRNA is similar to that of Sendai virus. Amino acid sequence alignment showed that the P and C proteins of PF3 and Sendai virus represent homologous pairs. However, these homologies are represented by high contents of accepted amino acid substitutions and by similarity in hydropathy profiles rather than by high contents of exact amino acid matches. Homology with the P and C proteins of measles, canine distemper and respiratory syncytial viruses was at the threshold of significance. The patterns of amino acid sequence homology among the paramyxovirus HN, F, NP, P and C proteins are compared.


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