Résumé : Vascular secondary growth results from the activity of the vascular cambium, which produces secondary phloem and secondary xylem. By means of cDNA-amplified fragment length polymorphism (cDNA-AFLP) analysis along aspen stems, several potential regulatory genes involved in the progressive transition from primary to secondary growth were identified. A total of 83 unique transcript-derived fragments (TDFs) was found to be differentiated between the top and the bottom of the stem. An independent RT-PCR expression analysis validated the cDNA-AFLP profiles for 19 of the TDFs. Among these, seven correspond to new genes encoding putative regulatory proteins. Emphasis was laid upon two genes encoding, respectively, an AP2/ERF-like transcription factor (PtaERF1) and a RING finger protein (PtaRHE1); their differential expression was further confirmed by reverse northern analysis. In situ RT-PCR revealed that PtaERF1 was expressed in phloem tissue and that PtaRHE1 had a pronounced expression in ray initials and their derivatives within the cambial zone. These results suggest that these genes have a potential role in vascular tissue development and/or functioning.