Maize streak geminivirus (MSV) is a single-stranded DNA virus that infects cereals and other grasses. A promoter region incorporating the MSV large intergenic region and movement protein gene sequence was ligated to the gus (beta-glucuronidase) reporter gene which replaced the virus coat protein (CP) gene. The CP promoter activity was analysed in transgenic rice plants (Oryza sativa L.) and was compared with that obtained in plants transformed with the gus gene downstream of the cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) 35S promoter. The MSV CP promoter activity varied in the five plant lines tested, but was always less than that of the CaMV promoter. Histochemistry showed that the MSV CP promoter was active in cells of regenerating callus but in regenerated plants it provided an expression pattern restricted to the vascular tissues of the root, stem, leaf and floral organs. Expression was highest in phloem-associated tissues of the vegetative organs and was absent from the tip and elongation region of seedling roots. Thus, the MSV CP promoter shows a degree of developmental regulation and can be used to confer tissue-specific expression in transgenic rice plants.