The expression of the plastid genome is dependent on a large number of nucleus-encoded factors. Some of these factors have been identified through biochemical assays, and many others by genetic screens in Arabidopsis, Chlamydomonas and maize. Nucleus-encoded factors function in each step in plastid gene expression, including transcription, RNA editing, RNA splicing, RNA processing, RNA degradation, and translation. Many of the factors discovered via biochemical approaches play general roles as components of the basic gene expression machinery, whereas the majority of those identified by genetic approaches are specifically required for the expression of small subsets of chloroplast genes and are involved in post-transcriptional steps. Some of the nucleus-encoded factors may play regulatory roles and modulate chloroplast gene expression in response to developmental or environmental cues. They may also serve to couple chloroplast gene expression with the assembly of the protein products into the large complexes of the photosynthetic apparatus. The convergence of biochemical approaches with those of classical and reverse genetics, and the contributions from large scale genomic sequencing should result in rapid advances in our understanding of the regulatory interactions that govern plastid gene expression.