Mg-insertion is the first committed step in chlorophyll synthesis and is catalyzed by Mg-chelatase. In photosynthetic bacteria, bchI gene product was suggested to be a subunit of Mg-chelatase. We isolated a bchI homolog from a soybean cDNA library and designated it as chlI. CHLI consisted of 421 amino acid residues and the sequence exhibited a high similarity to other BchI homologs. CHLI contained an ATP-binding motif found in other BchI homologs. CHLI was localized in the soluble fraction in soybean chloroplasts, suggesting that it was a stromal subunit of Mg-chelatase. chlI mRNA in cell culture (SB-P) of soybean was reversibly induced by light.