Two proteins with sigma-like activity have been isolated from the alga, Chlamydomonas reinhardi. One protein, sigma 2, has been partially purified and appears to have a molecular weight of 51,000. The interaction of this protein with a heterologous (Escherichia coli) and homologous (Chlamydomonas, chloroplast rifampicin-sensitive) core RNA-polymerase (RNA nucleotidyltransferase, nucleosidetriphosphate: RNA nucleotidyltransferase, EC 126.96.36.199) was studied. Sigma 2 protein appears to stimulate the formation of open (rapid starting) binary complexes by both of the core enzymes. Stimulation of transcription by sigma 2 on chloroplast DNA was greater when Chlamydomonas core enzyme was used. Moreover, in vitro transcription on a variety of templates using RNA polymerases I and II from Chlamydomonas was not stimulated by this protein.