Sugars as signalling molecules exert control on the transcription of many plant genes. Sugar signals also alter mRNA and protein stability. Increased sucrose concentrations specifically repress translation of the S-class basic region leucine zipper (bZIP) type transcription factor AtbZIP11/ATB2. This sucrose-induced repression of translation (SIRT) depends on translation of a highly conserved upstream open reading frame (uORF) in the 5' UTR of the gene. This conserved uORF is exclusively encoded in 5' UTRs of several plant S-class bZIP transcription factors. Arabidopsis homologues of ATB2/AtbZIP11, which harbour the conserved uORF, also show SIRT. Therefore, SIRT emerges as a general sucrose translational control mechanism of a group of transcription factors. SIRT might be part of a sucrose-specific signalling pathway, controlling expression of plant bZIP transcription factor genes.