We report here evidence of the role that the isoform of the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4G (eIF(iso)4G) plays in naturally occurring resistance in plant/virus interactions. A genetic and physical mapping approach was developed to isolate the Rymv1 locus controlling the high recessive resistance to Rice yellow mottle virus (RYMV) in the rice (Oryza sativa) variety Gigante. The locus was mapped to a 160-kb interval containing a gene from the eIF(iso)4G family. The stable transformation of a resistant line with the cDNA of this gene, derived from a susceptible variety, resulted in the loss of resistance in transgenic plants. The allelic variability of this gene was analysed in three resistant and 17 susceptible varieties from different cultivated rice species or subspecies. Compared with susceptible varieties, resistant varieties present specific alleles, characterized by either amino acid substitutions or short amino-acid deletions in the middle domain of the protein. The structure of this domain was modelled and showed that the substitutions were clustered on a small surface patch. This suggests that this domain may be involved in an interaction with the virus.