The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is central to plant virus replication, translation, maturation, and egress. Ubiquitin modification of ER associated cellular and viral proteins, alongside the actions of the 26S proteasome, are vital for the regulation of infection. Viruses can arrogate ER associated ubiquitination as well as cytosolic ubiquitin ligases with the purpose of directing the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) to new targets. Such targets include necessary modification of viral proteins which may stabilize certain complexes, or modification of Argonaute to suppress gene silencing. The UPS machinery also contributes to the regulation of effector triggered immunity pattern recognition receptor immunity. Combining the results of unrelated studies, many positive strand RNA plant viruses appear to interact with cytosolic Ub-ligases to provide novel avenues for controlling the deleterious consequences of disease. Viral interactions with the UPS serve to regulate virus infection in a manner that promotes replication and movement, but also modulates the levels of RNA accumulation to ensure successful biotrophic interactions. In other instances, the UPS plays a central role in cellular immunity. These opposing roles are made evident by contrasting studies where knockout mutations in the UPS can either hamper viruses or lead to more aggressive diseases. Understanding how viruses manipulate ER associated post-translational machineries to better manage virus–host interactions will provide new targets for crop improvement.
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