A previously isolated rice (Oryza sativa) rbcS gene was further characterized. This analysis revealed specific sequences in the 5′ regulatory region of the rice rbcS gene that are conserved in rbcS genes of other monocotyledonous species. In transgenic rice plants, we examined the expression of the β-glucuronidase (gusA) reporter gene directed by the 2.8-kb promoter region of the rice rbcS gene. To examine differences in the regulation of monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous rbcS promoters, the activity of a tomato rbcS promoter was also investigated in transgenic rice plants. Our results indicated that both rice and tomato rbcS promoters confer mesophyll-specific expression of the gusA reporter gene in transgenic rice plants and that this expression is induced by light. However, the expression level of the rice rbcS-gusA gene was higher than that of the tomato rbcS-gusA gene, suggesting the presence of quantitative differences in the activity of these particular monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous rbcS promoters in transgenic rice. Histochemical analysis of rbcS-gusA gene expression showed that the observed light induction was only found in mesophyll cells. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that the light regulation of rice rbcS-gusA gene expression was primarily at the level of mRNA accumulation. We show that the rice rbcS gene promoter should be useful for expression of agronomically important genes for genetic engineering of monocotyledonous species.