Two sets of infectious cDNA clones of Raspberry bushy dwarf virus (RBDV) have been constructed, enabling either the synthesis of infectious RNA transcripts or the delivery of infectious binary plasmid DNA by infiltration of Agrobacterium tumefaciens. In whole plants and in protoplasts, inoculation of RBDV RNA1 and RNA2 transcripts led to a low level of infection, which was greatly increased by the addition of RNA3, a subgenomic RNA coding for the RBDV coat protein (CP). Agroinfiltration of RNA1 and RNA2 constructs did not produce a detectable infection but, again, inclusion of a construct encoding the CP led to high levels of infection. Thus, RBDV replication is greatly stimulated by the presence of the CP, a mechanism that also operates with ilarviruses and Alfalfa mosaic virus, where it is referred to as genome activation. Mutation to remove amino acids from the N-terminus of the CP showed that the first fifteen RBDV CP residues are not required for genome activation. Other experiments, in which overlapping regions at the CP N-terminus were fused to the red fluorescent protein mRFP, showed that sequences downstream of the first 48 amino acids also are not absolutely required for genome activation.