The NeIF-4A10 gene belongs to a family of at least ten genes, all of which encode closely related isoforms of translation initiation factor 4A. The promoter region of NeIF-4A10 was sequenced, and four mRNA 5' ends were determined. Deletions containing 2750, 689 and 188 bp of untranscribed upstream DNA were fused to the GUS reporter gene and introduced into transgenic tobacco. The three constructs mediated GUS expression in all cells of the leaf, stem and shoot apical meristem. Control experiments using in situ hybridization and tissue printing indicated that the observed GUS expression matches the expression patterns of NeIF-4A mRNA and protein. This detailed analysis at the level of mRNA, protein and reporter gene expression shows that NeIF-4A10 is an ideal constitutively expressed control gene. We argue that inclusion of such a control gene in experiments dealing with specifically expressed genes is in many cases essential for the correct interpretation of observed expression patterns.