Profilin (PFN) is an ubiquitous, low-M-r, actin-binding protein involved in the organization of the cytoskeleton of eukaryotes including higher plants. PFNs are encoded by a multigene family in Arabidopsis. We have analyzed in vivo functions of Arabidopsis PFN by generating transgenic plants carrying a 35S-PFN-1 or 35S-antisense PFN-1 transgene. Etiolated seedlings underexpressing PFN (PFN-U) displayed an overall dwarf phenotype with short hypocotyls whose lengths were 20% to 25% that of wild type (WT) at low temperatures. Light-grown PFN-U plants were smaller in stature and flowered early. Compared with equivalent cells in WT, most cells in PFN-U hypocotyls and roots were shorter, but more isodiametric, and microscopic observations of etiolated PFN-U hypocotyls revealed a rough epidermal surface. In contrast, light-grown seedlings overexpressing PFN had longer roots and root hair although etiolated seedlings overexpressing PFN were either the same size or slightly longer than WT seedlings. Transgenic seedlings harboring a PFN-1-GUS transgene directed expression in root and root hair and in a ring of cells at the elongating zone of the root tip. As the seedlings matured PFN-1-GUS was mainly expressed in the vascular bundles of cotyledons and leaves. Our results show that Arabidopsis PFNs play a role in cell elongation, cell shape maintenance, polarized growth of root hair, and unexpectedly, in determination of flowering time.