The present study investigates the specificity of potyviruses for aphid species. Two potyviruses differing in their host range were used: Zucchini yellow mosaic virus (ZYMV) mainly infecting cucurbits and Turnip mosaic virus (TuMV) mainly infecting crucifers. Two sets of aphids species were used as vectors, one polyphagous (Myzus persicae and Aphis gossypii) and the other from crucifers (Brevicoryne brassicae and Lipaphis erysimi). Evidence is provided that the specificity between a vector and a potyvirus depends either on the affinity between the aphid species and the helper component (HC) protein used or on the affinity between the HC and the virions. The difference between the two potyviruses cannot be attributed to the DAG domain which is unaltered in both N termini of the CP. Therefore, a ZYMV full length clone served to exchange a fragment encoding for the N terminus of the ZYMV CP by that of TuMV. This partial exchange in the ZYMV CP, allowed the TuMV HC to transmit the chimeric virus but not the wild type ZYMV. The significance of the N terminus context of the CP in the specificity for the HC is discussed.