CBTF122 is a subunit of the Xenopus CCAAT box transcription factor complex and a member of a family of double-stranded RNA-binding proteins that function in both transcriptional and post-transcriptional control. Here we identify a region of CBTF122 containing the double-stranded RNA-binding domains that is capable of binding either RNA or DNA. We show that these domains bind A-form DNA in preference to B-form DNA and that the -59 to -31 region of the GATA-2 promoter (an in vivo target of CCAAT box transcription factor) adopts a partial A-form structure. Mutations in the RNA-binding domains that inhibit RNA binding also affect DNA binding in vitro. In addition, these mutations alter the ability of CBTF122 fusions with engrailed transcription repressor and VP16 transcription activator domains to regulate transcription of the GATA-2 gene in vivo. These data support the hypothesis that the double-stranded RNA-binding domains of this family of proteins are important for their DNA binding both in vitro and in vivo.