Dof proteins are unique to plants and contain a single zinc finger DNA-binding domain called the Dof domain. OBP1, an Arabidopsis Dof protein, was previously isolated through an interaction with OBF4, an ocs element-binding protein. Two additional Dof proteins, called OBP2 and OBP3, were isolated through homologous screening. All three OBP proteins contain transcriptional activation domains in their C-terminal region. While no significant differences were found between the OBP proteins in terms of their DNA and protein-binding properties, tissue-specific RNA expression patterns were found. The RNA expression levels of all three OBP proteins increased following treatment with auxin, salicylic acid (SA) or cycloheximide, although the level of induction varied among the different proteins and in the tissues tested. These results suggest that even though they have similar DNA binding and protein-protein interaction properties, the different OBP proteins are likely to have distinct functions in specific parts of the plant. There is a good correlation between the expression of the OBP proteins and the ocs element, a stress-response element which is also induced by auxin, SA and cycloheximide. To begin to analyze the function of the OBP proteins, transgenic lines overexpressing OBP3 were generated. These plants showed a severe growth defect with altered root development and yellowish leaves. The severity of the growth defects correlated with OBP3 expression levels and in some cases led to death, suggesting that some Dof proteins play important roles in plant growth and development.