C-LEC1, an orthologue of Arabidopsis LEC1, is thought to be an essential transcriptional activator required for normal development during the early and late phases of embryogenesis. C-LEC1 is similar in sequence to the HAP3 subunits of other organisms. To understand C-LEC1 function better, a cDNA library of carrot somatic embryos was screened for factors that form complexes with C-LEC1. Two carrot HAP5 homologues and two carrot HAP2 homologues were identified; these factors have significant sequence similarity to the conserved regions of HAP5 and HAP2, respectively. Some of these proteins form heterotrimeric complexes that bind specifically to DNA fragments containing a CCAAT sequence in vitro. The results suggest that C-LEC1 is a component of the CCAAT-box-binding factor and forms a complex with C-HAP2B and C-HAP5A or C-HAP5B that regulates gene expression during carrot embryo development.