Rod photoreceptor cGMP phosphodiesterase (PDE6) is a key enzyme in the phototransduction cascade. Lines of transgenic mice were established to determine the spatial expression pattern directed by an upstream fragment of the PDE6A gene. RT-PCR analysis showed that three of four lines analyzed transcribed the transgene predominantly in the retina and weakly in brain. The line showing no transgene transcription did not contain an intact transgene. Transcription of the transgene in the three lines was found in retina and weakly in brain, but not in heart, kidney, liver, or lung. Transcripts were most predominant in the photoreceptors of the retina. These results demonstrate that a short segment of the upstream region of the PDE6A gene comprises a functional promoter that is most active in photoreceptors. © 2001 Academic Press.