AKT1, a putative inwardly directed K+ channel of Arabidopsis, restores long-term potassium uptake in a yeast mutant defective in K+ absorption. In this paper, the expression pattern of the gene encoding AKT1 is described. Northern blots indicate that AKT1 transcripts are preferentially accumulated in Arabidopsis roots. Owing to the difficulties in producing large quantities of Arabidopsis roots under hydroponic conditions, experiments were undertaken with Brassica napus, a related species. Potassium starvation experiments on B. napus plants show that changes in the K+ status of the organs do not modify AKT1 mRNA accumulation. Western blot analysis of B. napus proteins confirms the presence of AKT1 at the root plasma membrane. Tissue-specific expression directed by the Arabidopsis AKT1 gene promoter was investigated by analysis of beta-glucuronidase (GUS) activity in transgenic Arabidopsis containing an AKT1-GUS gene fusion. As determined by fluorimetric and histochemical tests, the AKT1 promoter directs preferential expression in the peripheral cell layers of root mature regions. The discrete activity found in leaves relates to leaf primordia and to small groups of cells, hydathodes, found on toothed margins of the Arabidopsis leaf lamina. These data are discussed with regard to a possible role of AKT1 in K+ nutrition of plants.