The product of the glycogen phosphorylase-2 gene in Dictyostelium functions to provide the glucose units that are used to construct the structural components of the terminal stage of development. In this report, we link a 1233 bp upstream gp2 fragment to a luciferase reporter gene in order to study the sequences that are involved in the temporal expression of the gene. Various deletions of the promoter-luciferase fusion were then transformed into Dictyostelium cells. All deletion constructs, from -1216 to -486 nucleotides from the translational start codon, showed the same temporal pattern of expression as the authentic gp2 gene, as well as similar luciferase activities. Removal of an additional 37 nucleotides resulted in nearly 100-fold decrease in activity, yet retained the normal temporal expression of luciferase. Analysis of DNA binding proteins with the gel shift assay revealed a stage-dependent pattern of proteins that bound to the gp2 promoter. A similar pattern of temporal expression of the binding proteins was observed with either the full-length probe or with oligonucleotide probes that contained sequences that were identified as putative regulatory sites. Likewise, the full-length and oligonucleotide probes demonstrated identical binding patterns during several steps of purification of the DNA binding proteins. SDS-PAGE and Southwestern blot analysis of a DNA-affinity purified fraction, identified a 23 kDa peptide as the binding protein.