Mutational analysis of the phosphate acceptor sites of the Borna disease virus (BDV) phosphoprotein (P) has suggested a role of phosphorylation for viral spread. However, the studied mutant viruses also had two amino acid exchanges in the X protein, because the reading frames of P and X overlap. To determine the relative contribution of P and X to viral attenuation, we studied a P variant with serine-to-leucine substitutions (P(S26L,S28L)) in which the wild-type X sequence was conserved. Viral spread of rBDV-P(S26L,S28L) was impaired in human oligodendroglioma cells and in adult rats. Thus, BDV-P phosphorylation contributes to efficient viral dissemination.