Parainfluenza virus 5 (PIV5) is a prototypical paramyxovirus. The V/P gene of PIV5 encodes two mRNA species through a process of pseudotemplated insertion of two G residues at a specific site during transcription, resulting in two viral proteins, V and P, whose N termini of 164 amino acid residues are identical. Previously it was reported that mutating six amino acid residues within this identical region results in a recombinant PIV5 (rPIV5-CPI-) that exhibits elevated viral protein expression and induces production of cytokines, such as beta interferon and interleukin 6. Because the six mutations correspond to the shared region of the V protein and the P protein, it is not clear whether the phenotypes associated with rPIV5-CPI- are due to mutations in the P protein and/or mutations in the Y protein. To address this question, we used a minigenome system and recombinant viruses to study the effects of mutations on the functions of the P and Y proteins. We found that the P protein with six amino acid residue changes (Pcpi-) was more efficient than wild-type P in facilitating replication of viral RNA, while the V protein with six amino acid residue changes (Vcpi-) still inhibits minigenome replication as does the wild-type V protein. These results indicate that elevated viral gene expression in rPIV5-CPI- virus-infected cells can be attributed to a P protein with an increased ability to facilitate viral RNA synthesis. Furthermore, we found that a single amino acid residue change at position 157 of the P protein from Ser (the residue in the wild-type P protein) to Phe (the residue in Pcpi-) is sufficient for elevated viral gene expression. Using mass spectrometry and 33P labeling, we found that residue S157 of the P protein is phosphorylated. Based on these results, we propose that phosphorylation of the P protein at residue 157 plays an important role in regulating viral RNA replication.