Transient expression is a rapid, useful approach for producing proteins of interest in plants. Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV)-based transient expression vectors can express very high levels of foreign proteins in plants. However, TMV vectors are, in general, not efficiently delivered to plant cells by agroinfection. It was determined that agroinfection was very efficient with a 35S promoter-driven TMV replicon that lacked the TMV coat protein gene sequence. This coat protein deletion vector had several useful features as a transient expression system, including improved ease of use, higher protein expression rates, and improved biocontainment. Using this TMV expression vector, some foreign proteins were expressed at levels of 3 to 5 mg/g fresh weight of plant tissue. It is proposed that this new transient expression vector will be a useful tool for expressing recombinant proteins in plants for either research or production purposes.