Maturing pea cotyledons accumulate large quantities of storage proteins at a specific time in seed development. To examine the sequences responsible for this regulated expression, a series of deletion mutants of the legA major seed storage protein gene were made and transferred to tobacco using the Bin19 disarmed Agrobacterium vector system. A promoter sequence of 97 bp including the CAAT and TATA boxes was insufficient for expression. Expression was first detected in a construct with 549 bp of upstream flanking sequence which contained the the leg box element, a 28 bp conserved sequence found in the legumin-type genes of several legume species. Constructs containing -833 and -1203 bp of promoter sequence significantly increased levels of expression. All expressing constructs preserved seed specificity and temporal regulation. The results indicate that promoter sequences between positions -97 and -549 bp are responsible for promoter activity, seed specificity, and temporal regulation of the pea legA gene. Sequences between positions -549 and -1203 bp appear to function as enhancer-like elements, to increase expression.