The SAP domain is a recently defined DNA binding domain that forms a helix-extended-helix structure. SAP proteins have been implicated in nuclear architecture and/or RNA metabolism. In this paper, we describe the cloning and characterization of a rice gene, OsBP-73, encoding a 375 amino acid protein with a SAP-like domain. We identified the binding sequence of OsBP-73 by gel retardation assays and southwestern blotting. Northern blot analysis demonstrated that OsBP-73 is weakly expressed in root, leaf and immature seed. OsBP-73 gene expression was also examined by histochemical studies of transgenic rice plants carrying an OsBP-73 5'/GUS reporter gene. The reporter gene is mainly expressed in the tissues with high cell division activities, such as root tip, stem node, panicle and immature seed. Genetic interference of OsBP-73 gene expression by double-stranded RNA strikingly inhibits the whole plant growth but does not affect the passage from the juvenile to adult phase. These results suggest that OsBP-73 may play an important role in the regulation of cell proliferation.