The cassava vein mosaic virus (CVMV) is a double stranded DNA virus which infects cassava plants (Manihot esculenta Crantz) and has been characterized as a plant pararetrovirus belonging to the caulimovirus subgroup. Two DNA fragments, CVP1 of 388 nucleotides from position -368 to +20 and CVP2 of 511 nucleotides from position -443 to +72, were isolated from the viral genome and fused to the uidA reporter gene to test promoter expression. The transcription start site of the viral promoter was determined using RNA isolated from transgenic plants containing the CVMV promoter:uidA fusion gene. Both promoter fragments were able to cause high levels of gene expression in protoplasts isolated from cassava and tobacco cell suspensions. The expression pattern of the CVMV promoters was analyzed in transgenic tobacco and rice plants, and revealed that the GUS staining pattern was similar for each construct and in both plants. The two promoter fragments were active in all plant organs tested and in a variety of cell types, suggesting a near constitutive pattern of expression. In both tobacco and rice plants, GUS activity was highest in vascular elements, in leaf mesophyll cells, and in root tips.