The uridylylation of the VPg peptide primer is the first stage in the replication of picornavirus RNA. This process can be achieved in vitro using purified components, including 3B (VPg) with the RNA dependent RNA polymerase (3D(pol)), the precursor 3CD, and an RNA template containing the cre/bus. We show that certain RNA sequences within the foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) 5' untranslated region but outside of the cre/bus can enhance VPg uridylylation activity. Furthermore, we have shown that the FMDV X protein alone can substitute for 3CD, albeit less efficiently. In addition, the VPg precursors, 3B(3)3C and 3B(123)3C, can function as substrates for uridylylation in the absence of added 3C or 3CD. Residues within the FMDV 3C protein involved in interaction with the cre/bus RNA have been identified and are located on the face of the protein opposite from the catalytic site. These residues within 3C are also essential for VPg uridylylation activity and efficient virus replication.