The monopartite DNA genome of beet curly top geminivirus (BCTV, strain Logan) contains four leftward (complementary sense) open reading frames (ORFs) designated L1, L2, L3, and L4. We investigated the functions of the L2 and L3 ORFs by mutational analysis. We found that in Nicotiana benthamiana and sugarbeet plants, neither a functional L2 nor a functional L3 gene is required for infectivity. Double mutants were also infectious, and no evidence for a synergistic effect of these genes was evident. However, while sugarbeet plants inoculated with L2 or L3 mutants showed symptoms that were indistinguishable from those elicited by wild type virus, mutant-inoculated N. benthamiana plants displayed a novel phenotype in which recovery of the plant from initially severe disease symptoms was greatly enhanced. Enhanced recovery was associated with a large reduction in viral DNA levels. Our studies did not provide evidence for functional homology between the BCTV L2 gene and its presumed homologue (AL2) in the bipartite geminiviruses. In contrast, mutants with lesions in the L3 ORF accumulated three- to five-fold less DNA than wild type virus in a protoplast replication assay, consistent with the interpretation that the BCTV L3 gene is a homologue of the bipartite geminivirus AL3 gene which is known to function as a replication enhancer. Functional homology was directly confirmed in experiments which demonstrated that the BCTV L3 gene can complement a tomato golden mosaic virus AL3 mutant, and vice versa.