Chromoplasts are carotenoid-accumulating plastids found in the corollas and fruits of many higher plants. In most cases, the pigment in these plastids is accumulated with the aid of carotenoid-associated proteins located within unique structures. This paper reports the isolation and characterization of the cDNA (CHRC) from Cucumis sativus corollas which encodes the chromoplast-specific carotenoid-associated protein CHRC. The transit peptide cleavage site was determined and, using a chloroplast uptake system, it is shown that CHRC can be post-translationally targeted to these plastids where it is peripherally associated with thylakoids. Analysis of CHRC transcript level in Cucumis sativus revealed its temporal and tissue-specific regulation: the transcript was detected only in corollas, where its level increased in parallel to flower development, peaking just before anthesis. CHRC shares significant homology (59%) with the gene coding for fibrillin-a protein in Capsicum annuum red fruits whose function is essentially identical to that of CHRC. A CHRC fragment including the potential active site of the protein was used as a probe in Northern blot analyses of floral and fruit tissues from various plants containing chromoplasts of different types: CHRC homologs of similar sizes were revealed in all cases. The existence of a group of homologous genes coding for chromoplast-specific proteins which aid in the sequestration of carotenoids within specific structures is proposed.