Hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA forms an unusual interaction with human microRNA-122 (miR-122) that promotes viral RNA accumulation in cultured human liver cells and in the livers of infected chimpanzees. GB virus B (GBV-B) is a hepatotropic virus and close relative of HCV. Thus, GBV-B has been used as a surrogate system to study HCV amplification in cultured cells and in infected tamarins. It was discovered that the 5'-terminal sequences of GBV-B RNA, like HCV RNA, forms an Argonaute 2-mediated complex with two miR-122 molecules that are essential for accumulation of GBV-B subgenomic replicon RNA. However, sequences in miR-122 that anneal to each viral RNA genome were different, suggesting distinct overall structural features in HCV:miR-122 and GBV-B:miR-122 complexes. Surprisingly, a deletion that removed both miR-122 binding sites from the subgenomic GBV-B RNAs rendered viral RNA amplification independent from miR-122 and Argonaute 2. This finding suggests that structural features at the end of the viral genome dictate whether miR-122 is required to aid in maintaining viral RNA abundance.