The isolation and characterization of the Athb-2 gene, which codes for a HD-Zip protein in Arabidopsis thaliana is reported. Interestingly, Southern analysis has established that the Arabidopsis genome contains sequences which are highly related to the Athb-2 HD-Zip coding region. One of these genes, designated Athb-4, has been cloned and partially sequenced. Amino acid sequence comparison revealed that Athb-2 and -4 are members of a small family of HD-Zip related proteins. Athb-2 mRNA analysis showed that this gene is expressed during the vegetative and reproductive phases of plant growth. A significant increment in the amount of Athb-2 transcripts was observed in flowering plants. A higher steady-state level of the Athb-2 mRNA was also found in dark-adapted plants. Remarkably, far-red-rich light treatment of Arabidopsis plants results in a rapid and strong induction of the Athb-2 expression. This light treatment also induces the accumulation of Athb-4 transcripts, suggesting a similar role for the two members of this HD-Zip family.