Cassava vein mosaic virus (CsVMV) is a pararetrovirus that infects cassava plants in Brazil. A promoter fragment isolated from CsVMV, comprising nucleotides -443 to +72, was previously shown to direct strong constitutive gene expression in transgenic plants. Here we report the functional architecture of the CsVMV promoter fragment. A series of promoter deletion mutants were fused to the coding sequence of uidA reporter gene and the chimeric genes were introduced into transgenic tobacco plants. Promoter activity was monitored by histochemical and quantitative assays of beta-glucuronidase activity (GUS). We found that the promoter fragment is made up of different regions that confer distinct tissue-specific expression of the gene. The region encompassing nucleotides -222 to -173 contains cis elements that control promoter expression in green tissues and root tips. Our results indicate that a consensus as1 element and a GATA motif located within this region are essential for promoter expression in those tissues. Expression from the CsVMV promoter in vascular elements is directed by the region encompassing nucleotides -178 to -63. Elements located between nucleotides -149 and -63 are also required to activate promoter expression in green tissues suggesting a combinatorial mode of regulation. Within the latter region, a 43 bp fragment extending from nucleotide -141 to -99 was shown to interact with a protein factor extracted from nuclei of tobacco seedlings. This fragment showed no sequence homology with other pararetrovirus promoters and hence may contain CsVMV-specific regulatory cis elements.