Plant steroid hormones, brassinosteroids (BRs), play important roles throughout plant growth and development. Plants defective in BR biosynthesis or perception display cell elongation defects and severe dwarfism. Two dwarf mutants named bin3 and bin5 with identical phenotypes to each other display some characteristics of BR mutants and are partially insensitive to exogenously applied BRs. In the dark, bin3 or bin5 seedlings are de-etiolated with short hypocotyls and open cotyledons. Light-grown mutant plants are dwarfs with short petioles, epinastic leaves, short inflorescence stems, and reduced apical dominance. We cloned BIN3 and BIN5 and show that BIN5 is one of three putative Arabidopsis SPO11 homologs (AtSPO11-3) that also shares significant homology to archaebacterial topoisomerase VI (TOP6) subunit A, whereas BIN3 represents a putative eukaryotic homolog of TOP6B. The pleiotropic dwarf phenotypes of bin5 establish that, unlike all of the other SPO11 homologs that are involved in meiosis, BIN5/AtSPO11-3 plays a major role during somatic development. Furthermore, microarray analysis of the expression of about 5500 genes in bin3 or bin5 mutants indicates that about 321 genes are down-regulated in both of the mutants, including 18 of 30 BR-induced genes. These results suggest that BIN3 and BIN5 may constitute an Arabidopsis topoisomerase VI that modulates expression of many genes, including those regulated by BRs.