To identify DNA sequences of the Arabidopsis thaliana chalcone synthase gene (CHS) concerned with induction by UV-B and UV-A/blue light, AtCHS promoter constructions were assayed by transient expression in protoplasts prepared from two different lines of cultured A. thaliana cells. The protoplasts responded similarly to A. thaliana leaf tissue in light-dependent CHS transcript accumulation. The reporter enzyme beta-glucuronidase (GUS) was used to monitor light-responsive promoter activity. A 1972 bp promoter conferred UV-B and UV-A/blue light induction of GUS activity. Deletion to 164 bp resulted in reduced promoter strength but retention of responsiveness to UV-B and UV-A/blue light. Further deletion abolished transcriptional activity. The 164 bp promoter contains sequences closely resembling LRUPcCHS, (light-responsive unit of the Petroselinum crispum CHS promoter). This A. thaliana CHS promoter region, designated LRUAtCHS, was sufficient to confer UV-B and UV-A/blue light responsiveness to a heterologous core promoter. Mutation of sequences in LRUAtCHS corresponding to the ACGT element and the MYB recognition element of LRUPcCHS resulted in inactivation of the 164 bp and 335 bp promoter deletions. However, the mutant 668 bp promoter retained residual UV-B and UV-A/blue light-induced expression, indicating the presence of additional functional sequences upstream of -335. Mutation of a single G-box-like sequence around -442 had no effect on light responsiveness, indicating that it does not function in light regulation of this promoter. Since no difference in responsiveness to UV-B and UV-A/blue light was observed with any promoter variant, we conclude that the two phototransduction pathways regulate transcription factors which interact with common promoter elements. The results from-our analysis of a A. thaliana light-responsive promoter will facilitate the study of light-dependent gene regulation by genetic means in Arabidopsis thaliana.