An Arabidopsis thaliana line bearing a transposon insertion in the gene coding for the isozyme form of the plant-specific cap-binding protein, eukaryotic initiation factor (iso) 4E (eIF (iso) 4E), has been isolated. This mutant line completely lacks both eIF(iso)4E mRNA and protein, but was found to have a phenotype and fertility indistinguishable from wild-type plants under standard laboratory conditions. In contrast, the amount of the related eIF4E protein was found to increase in seedling extracts. Furthermore, polysome analysis shows that the mRNA encoding eIF4E was being translated at increased levels. Given the known interaction between cap-binding proteins and potyviral genome-linked proteins (VPg), this plant line was challenged with two potyviruses, Turnip mosaic virus (TuMV) and Lettuce mosaic virus (LMV) and was found resistant to both, but not to the Nepovirus, Tomato black ring virus (TBRV) and the Cucumovirus, Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV). Together with previous data showing that the VPg–eIF4E interaction is necessary for virus infectivity and upregulates genome amplification, this shows that the eIF4E proteins are specifically recruited for the replication cycle of potyviruses.