The AbH6H gene for hyoscyamine 6beta-hydroxylase (H6H), which converts hyoscyamine to scopolamine, was isolated from Atropa belladonna. This plant also possesses a related sequence, Ab psiH6H, which appears to be a non-functional pseudo-gene. AbH6H RNA was detected in cultured root, native root and anther, but not in stem, leaf, pistil, petal, and sepal tissues. In situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry and promoter::GUS transgene analysis showed that AbH6H is expressed specifically in root pericycle cells, and in tapetum and pollen mother cells. A 671 bp 5'-upstream region from AbH6H was sufficient for pericycle-specific expression in hairy roots of A. belladonna and Hyoscyamus niger, which both produce scopolamine, but cell-specific regulation was severely compromised in tobacco hairy roots, which do not produce scopolamine.