The discovery that the protein encoded by the transforming gene of Rous sarcoma virus (RSV) has protein kinase activity (Collett & Erikson, 1978) brought the subject of protein phosphorylation to the general attention of virologists. Retrovirus protein kinases have been extensively reviewed (e.g. Sefton, 1985; Hunter & Cooper, 1986) and, therefore, will only be dealt with briefly here. The main focus of the present review is the changes in phosphorylation that can occur during productive infection of cells by viruses, a topic that has received less widespread attention. In this context, we shall survey the phosphorylation of both viral and cellular proteins, assess the evidence regarding the functional significance of these phosphorylations, and consider the extent to which protein kinases encoded by virus or host are responsible for them. As we imagine that many of our readers may know less about protein kinases than they do about viruses, we have prefaced our review with a brief account of cellular protein kinases and protein phosphorylation.


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