Many plant genes have been shown to be induced by water stress and function in stress tolerance. The erd1 gene has been shown to be upregulated in response to both water stress and etiolation. Promoter studies using the erd1 promoter region fused to the luciferase (LUC) reporter gene in Arabidopsis thaliana were performed to identify the putative cis elements involved. Results indicated that the cis elements, responsible for gene expression during dehydration and etiolation, are separately located in two discrete portions of the erd1 promoter. Base substitution analysis showed that a 14-bp region from -599 to -586, and a myc recognition motif from -466 to -461 are necessary for the induction of LUC activity in dehydrated plants. On the other hand, base substitution analysis revealed that both an abscisic acid responsive element (ABRE)-like sequence (from -199 to -195) and an ACGT sequence (from -155 to -152) are required for an etiolation-induced increase in LUC activity. LUC activity measurements from etiolated transgenic plants incubated in either water, N6-benzyleadenine (BA), or a 1% sucrose solution found that while BA was able to delay the increase in LUC activity seen in water-treated plants, no increase in LUC activity was seen in plants incubated in sucrose. These results indicate that the erd1 promoter contains two different regulatory systems that are involved in upregulation by dehydration stress and dark-induced senescence.