We report the isolation and characterization of genes from the higher plants Arabidopsis, spinach and tobacco which code for nucleus-localized RNA-binding proteins. Common features of these polypeptides are glycine/arginine-rich regions with several RGG repeats at their N- and C-termini, which are sufficient for RNA binding in northwestern assays. All polypeptides analysed contain two basic bipartite nuclear localization signals and translational fusions harbouring these regions with the beta-glucuronidase gene direct the fusion proteins into the nucleus. Nuclear localization was confirmed by cellular fractionation with a polyclonal antiserum raised against the over-expressed tobacco protein NtRGG1p. Two or three copies of related RGG genes appear to be present in the analysed organisms and the expression of some of them is regulated: a tobacco gene is light-regulated and a spinach gene is preferentially expressed in roots. Possible biological functions of this class of RNA-binding proteins as well as structure/function relationships related to the modular structure are discussed.