The nuclear cap-binding protein complex (CBC) participates in 5' splice site selection of introns that are proximal to the mRNA cap. However, it is not known whether CBC has a role in alternative splicing. Using an RT-PCR alternative splicing panel, we analysed 435 alternative splicing events in Arabidopsis thaliana genes, encoding mainly transcription factors, splicing factors and stress-related proteins. Splicing profiles were determined in wild type plants, the cbp20 and cbp80(abh1) single mutants and the cbp20/80 double mutant. The alternative splicing events included alternative 5' and 3' splice site selection, exon skipping and intron retention. Significant changes in the ratios of alternative splicing isoforms were found in 101 genes. Of these, 41% were common to all three CBC mutants and 15% were observed only in the double mutant. The cbp80(abh1) and cbp20/80 mutants had many more changes in alternative splicing in common than did cbp20 and cbp20/80 suggesting that CBP80 plays a more significant role in alternative splicing than CBP20, probably being a platform for interactions with other splicing factors. Cap-binding proteins and the CBC are therefore directly involved in alternative splicing of some Arabidopsis genes and in most cases influenced alternative splicing of the first intron, particularly at the 5' splice site.