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The V protein of the paramyxovirus subfamily Paramyxovirinae is an important virulence factor that can interfere with host innate immunity by inactivating the cytosolic pathogen recognition receptor MDA5. This interference is a result of a protein-protein interaction between the highly conserved carboxyl-terminal domain of the V protein and the helicase domain of MDA5. The V protein C-terminal domain (CTD) is an evolutionarily conserved 49- to 68-amino-acid region that coordinates two zinc atoms per protein chain. Site-directed mutagenesis of conserved residues in the V protein CTD has revealed both universal and virus-specific requirements for zinc coordination in MDA5 engagement and has also identified other conserved residues as critical for MDA5 interaction and interference. Mutation of these residues produces V proteins that are specifically defective for MDA5 interference and not impaired in targeting STAT1 for proteasomal degradation via the VDC ubiquitin ligase complex. Results demonstrate that mutation of conserved charged residues in the V proteins of Nipah virus, measles virus, and mumps virus also abolishes MDA5 interaction. These findings clearly define molecular determinants for MDA5 inhibition by the paramyxovirus V proteins.