The Brassica napus cDNA clone A9 and the corresponding Arabidopsis thaliana gene have been sequenced. The B. napus cDNA and the A. thaliana gene encode proteins that are 73% identical and are predicted to be 10.3 kDa and 11.6 kDa in size respectively. Fusions of an RNase gene and the reporter gene beta-glucuronidase to the A. thaliana A9 promoter demonstrated that in tobacco the A9 promoter is active solely in tapetal cells. Promoter activity is first detectable in anthers prior to sporogenous cell meiosis and ceases during microspore premitotic interphase. The deduced A9 protein sequence has a pattern of cysteine residues that is present in a superfamily of seed plant proteins which contains seed storage proteins and several protease and alpha-amylase inhibitors.