(AltMV) is a member of the genus which has been known for less than twenty years, and has been detected in Australasia, Europe, North and South America, and Asia. The natural host range to date includes species in at least twenty- four taxonomically diverse plant families, with species in at least four other families known to be infected experimentally. AltMV has been shown to differ from (PVX), the type member of the genus , in a number of ways, including the subcellular localization of the Triple Gene Block 3 (TGB3) protein and apparent absence of interactions between TGB3 and TGB2. Differences between AltMV variants have allowed identification of viral determinants of pathogenicity, and identification of residues involved in interactions with host proteins. Infectious clones of AltMV differing significantly in symptom severity and efficiency of RNA silencing suppression have been produced, suitable either for high level protein expression (with efficient RNA silencing suppression) or for Virus-Induced Gene Silencing (VIGS; with weaker RNA silencing suppression), demonstrating a range of utility not available with most other plant viral vectors. The difference in silencing suppression efficiency was shown to be due to a single amino acid residue substitution in TGB1, and to differences in subcellular localization of TGB1 to the nucleus and nucleolus. The current state of knowledge of AltMV biology, including host range, strain differentiation, host interactions, and utility as a plant viral vector for both protein expression and VIGS are summarized.