We have noted a striking similarity between the sequences of proteins in a novel family of lipases we recently reported [Upton, C. and Buckley, J. T. (1995) Trends Biol. Sci. 20, 178-9] and more than 120 sequences from the database of Expressed Sequence Tags (dbEST) which correspond to at least 30 unique genes from arabidopsis, rice and maize. A cDNA (Arab-1) corresponding to one of these sequences was isolated, sequenced and translated. There was significant similarity to sequences in the new lipase family over the entire open reading frame of Arab-1 and when expressed in E. coli, the gene product was lipolytic. Arab-1 and genes for some of the other plant proteins appear to be differentially expressed. They may play a role in the regulation of lipid metabolism during plant development.