Abstract The Sendai virus pi strain (SeVpi) isolated from cells persistently infected with SeV shows mainly two phenotypes: (1) temperature sensitivity and (2) an ability of establishing persistent infection (steady state). Three amino acid substitutions are found in the Lpi protein and are located at aa 1088, 1618, and 1664. Recombinant SeV(Lpi) (rSeV(Lpi)) having all these substitutions is temperature sensitive and is capable of establishing persistent infection (steady state). rSeVs carrying the fragment containing L1618V show both phenotypes. rSeV(L1618V), in which leucine at aa 1618 is replaced with valine, has the ability of establishing persistent infection, but is not a temperature-sensitive mutant, indicating that the ability of a virus to establish persistent infection can be separated from temperature sensitivity. The amino acid change at 1618(L→V) coexisting with aa 1169 threonine is required for acquirement of a temperature-sensitive phenotype. Three amino acid substitutions are also found in the Ppi protein, but rSeV(Ppi) does not show these phenotypes.