We show here that the pvr2 locus in pepper, conferring recessive resistance against strains of potato virus Y (PVY), corresponds to a eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) gene. RFLP analysis on the PVY-susceptible and resistant pepper cultivars, using an eIF4E cDNA from tobacco as probe, revealed perfect map co-segregation between a polymorphism in the eIF4E gene and the pvr2 alleles, pvr21 (resistant to PVY-0) and pvr22 (resistant to PVY-0 and 1). The cloned pepper eIF4E cDNA encoded a 228 amino acid polypeptide with 70–86% nucleotide sequence identity with other plant eIF4Es. The sequences of eIF4E protein from two PVY-susceptible cultivars were identical and differed from the eIF4E sequences of the two PVY-resistant cultivars Yolo Y (YY) (pvr21) and FloridaVR2 (F) (pvr22) at two amino acids, a mutation common to both resistant genotypes and a second mutation specific to each. Complementation experiments were used to show that the eIF4E gene corresponds to pvr2. Thus, potato virus X-mediated transient expression of eIF4E from susceptible cultivar Yolo Wonder (YW) in the resistant genotype YY resulted in loss of resistance to subsequent PVY-0 inoculation and transient expression of eIF4E from YY (resistant to PVY-0; susceptible to PVY-1) rendered genotype F susceptible to PVY-1. Several lines of evidence indicate that interaction between the potyvirus genome-linked protein (VPg) and eIF4E are important for virus infectivity, suggesting that the recessive resistance could be due to incompatibility between the VPg and eIF4E in the resistant genotype.