Two members of the bromovirus group, brome mosaic virus (BMV) and cowpea chlorotic mottle virus (CCMV), selectively infect barley and cowpea, respectively, and also differ in their ability to systemically infect a common permissive host, Chenopodium quinoa. CCMV is confined to inoculated leaves of C. quinoa, whereas BMV causes rapid systemic mottling. To examine whether host-specific determinants for systemic movement of BMV and CCMV in each of these hosts are localized in the coat protein (CP), sequences encoding this gene were exchanged between biologically active clones of BMV RNA3 (B3) and CCMV RNA3 (C3) to create chimera expressing heterologous CP genes (B3/CCP and C3/BCP). Inoculation of each chimera with its respective wild-type (wt) RNAs 1 and 2 to barley or cowpea or C. quinoa plants resulted in symptom phenotype and long distance movement characteristics similar to those of the parental virus donating RNAs 1 and 2. These observations suggest that neither BMV CP nor CCMV CP has host-specific determinants for long distance movement. Inoculation of additional recombinant viruses, constructed by reassorting wt genomic RNAs 1 and 2 of BMV and CCMV with either heterologous wt RNA3 (i.e., B1 + B2 + C3 and C1 + C2 + B3) or heterologous chimeric RNA3 (i.e., B1 + B2 + C3/BCP and C1 + C2 + B3/CCP), to susceptible hosts resulted only in localized infections. The significance of these observations in relation to bromovirus movement is discussed.