The expression of host genes can be altered during the process of viral infection. To investigate the viral infection-induced up-regulated gene expression changes of maize at different time intervals post-inoculation with Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV), a suppression subtractive hybridization cDNA library was constructed. A total of 454 cDNA clones were identified to be viral infection-induced up-regulated genes. The influence of Rop1 on the infection of maize by SCMV was investigated. The results showed that transient silencing of the ZmRop1 gene through virus-induced gene silencing enhanced the accumulation and systemic infection of SCMV and another potyvirus (Pennisetum mosaic virus) in maize plants, whereas transient over-expression of ZmRop1 in maize protoplasts reduced SCMV accumulation. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that the heterologous expression of ZmRop1 impaired Potato virus X infection in Nicotiana benthamiana plants. These data suggest that ZmRop1 may play a role in plant defence responses to viral infection.