The sieve element occlusion (SEO) gene family includes several members that are expressed specifically in immature sieve elements (SEs) in the developing phloem of dicotyledonous plants. To determine how this restricted expression profile is achieved, we analysed the SE-specific Medicago truncatula SEO-F1 promoter (PMtSEO-F1) by constructing deletion, substitution and hybrid constructs and testing them in transgenic tobacco plants using green fluorescent protein as a reporter. This revealed four promoter regions, each containing cis-regulatory elements that activate transcription in SEs. One of these segments also contained sufficient information to suppress PMtSEO-F1 transcription in the phloem companion cells (CCs). Subsequent in silico analysis revealed several candidate cis-regulatory elements that PMtSEO-F1 shares with other SEO promoters. These putative sieve element boxes (PSE boxes) are promising candidates for cis-regulatory elements controlling the SE-specific expression of PMtSEO-F1.