The ability of 4-coumarate:coenzyme A ligase promoter from Populus tomentosa (Pto4CL1p) to drive expression of the GUS reporter gene and 4-coumarate:coenzyme A ligase gene in tobacco has been studied using transgenic plants produced by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. Intense GUS histochemical staining was detected in the xylem of stem in transgenic tobacco plants carrying the 1140 bp Pto4CL1p promoter. To further investigate the regulation function of the tissue-specific expression promoter, Pto4CL1p, a binary vector containing Pto4CL1p promoter fused with 4CL1 gene was transferred into tobacco. The activity of the 4CL1 enzyme doubled in the stems of transgenic tobacco but did not increase in the leaves. The content of lignin was increased 25% in the stem but there was no increase in the leaves of transgenic tobacco.