The organ specificity of four promoters that are known to direct seed-specific gene expression was tested. Whereas the phaseolin (phas)- and legumin B4 (leB4)-promoters were from genes encoding 7S and 11S globulins from Phaseolus vulgaris and Vicia faba, respectively, the usp- and the sbp-promoters were from non-storage protein genes of V. faba. The expression of different promoter–reporter gene fusions was followed either by RT-PCR or by registering the reporter enzyme activity in organs of transgenic tobacco, pea, narbon bean, or linseed. In addition to seeds, the promoters directed reporter gene expression in pollen and in seed coats. USP-, vicilin- and legumin-mRNA were detected by RT-PCR in pollen of Pisum sativum and V. faba. Expression during microsporogenesis and embryogenesis seems to be a general character of various seed protein genes.