Previous work has demonstrated that lineage-specific transcription factors play essential roles in red blood cell development. More recent studies have shown that these factors participate in critical protein-protein interactions in addition to binding DNA. The zinc finger transcription factor GATA-1, a central mediator of erythroid gene expression, interacts with multiple proteins including FOG-1, EKLF, SP1, CBP/p300 and PU.1. The mechanisms by which these interactions influence GATA-1 function, as well as any possible relationships between these seemingly disparate complexes, remain incompletely understood. However, several new findings have provided further insight into the functional significance of some of these interactions. Studies involving point mutants of GATA-1 have shown that a direct physical interaction between GATA-1 and FOG-1 is essential for normal human erythroid and megakaryocyte maturation in vivo. In addition, evidence has emerged that physical interaction between GATA-1 and the myeloid/lymphoid specific factor PU.1, an oncogene implicated in murine erythroleukemia, acts to functionally cross-antagonize one another. This provides a possible mechanism by which dysregulated expression of hematopoietic transcription factors leads to lineage maturation arrest in leukemias.