Hendra and Nipah virus, which constitute the genus Henipavirus
, are zoonotic paramyxoviruses that have been associated with sporadic outbreaks of severe disease and mortality in humans since their emergence in the late 1990s. Similar to other paramyxoviruses, their ability to evade the host interferon (IFN) response is conferred by the P gene. The henipavirus P gene encodes four proteins; the P, V, W and C proteins, which have all been described to inhibit the antiviral response. Further studies have revealed that these proteins have overlapping but unique properties which enable the virus to block multiple signaling pathways in the IFN response. The best characterized of these is the JAK-STAT signaling pathway which is targeted by the P, V and W proteins via an interaction with the transcription factor STAT1. In addition the V and W proteins can both limit virus-induced induction of IFN but they appear to do this via distinct mechanisms that rely on unique sequences in their C-terminal domains. The ability to generate recombinant Nipah viruses now gives us the opportunity to determine the precise role for each of these proteins and address their contribution to pathogenicity. Additionally, the question of whether these multiple anti-IFN strategies are all active in the different mammalian hosts for henipaviruses, particularly the fruit bat reservoir, warrants further exploration.