Hairy-related transcription factors (HRTs) constitute a recently identified subfamily of basic-helix-loop-helix transcription factors containing an Orange domain (bHLH-O factors). As compared to the related HES proteins, HRTs exhibit distinct DNA-binding activities in vitro and the molecular mechanisms underlying their transcriptional activity remain poorly understood. We have identified here the sequence "ggCACGTGcc" as predominant binding site for Xenopus HRT1 (XHRT1). In transiently transfected 3T3 cells, XHRT1 represses the expression of a luciferase reporter gene under the control of multimerized XHRT1 binding sites. Deletion analysis indicated that repression by XHRT1 requires the presence of the DNA-binding bHLH motif and the Orange domain. However, the presence of the sequence motif YRPWGTEIGAF located at the very C-terminus of XHRT1 is dispensable. Accordingly, the groucho co-repressor, which is known to mediate transcriptional repression by HES factors through binding their C-terminal WRPW sequence, does not recognize the related YRPW motif present in the C-terminal part of XHRT1 significantly in vitro. As the C-terminus of HRTs is well conserved, our observation indicates that this part of HRTs, unlike the corresponding part of HES proteins, does not recruit the groucho co-repressor efficiently.