The coordinate expression of anthocyanin biosynthetic genes in leaves and stems of a red forma of Perilla frutescens is presumably controlled by regulatory gene(s). A Myc-like gene (Myc-rp) was isolated from a cDNA library prepared from the leaves of red P. frutescens, and its deduced amino acid sequence shows 64% identity with that of delila from snapdragon. The Myc-rp gene was expressed in leaves and roots of both red and green P. frutescens equally. Comparison of deduced amino acid sequence of Myc-rp with that of Myc-gp, the second allele isolated from a green forma of P. frutescens, indicates that the 132nd amino acid, alanine, existing in MYC-RP was changed to serine in MYC-GP. The heterologous expression of these two alleles of Myc-like gene in tobacco and tomato resulted in an increase of the anthocyanin contents in flowers of tobacco and vegetative tissues and flowers of tomato. However, the flowers of transgenic tobacco expressing the fragment with a partial deletion (encoding 1-115 amino acids deleted) of Myc(-gp gave no change in anthocyanin accumulation, but some morphological changes of the flower were observed. In yeast, the MYC-RP/GP and Delila protein exhibited transactivation activity on the GAL-1 promoter from yeast and the promoter of dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (DFR) gene from P. frutescens. A transactivation domain of MYC-RP/GP and Delila could be located in the region between the 193rd and the 420th amino acid of MYC-RP/GP proteins. Our data indicate that this Myc-like gene presumably functions in the regulation of anthocyanin biosynthesis similarly in different tissues of dicot plants.