Using a calmodulin (CaM) cDNA as a probe in northern analyses, transgenic tomato plants that overexpress the prosystemin gene were found to express increased levels of CaM mRNA and protein in leaves compared to wild-type plants. These transgenic plants have been reported previously to express several wound-inducible defense-related genes in the absence of wounding. Calmodulin mRNA and protein levels were found to increase in leaves of young wild-type tomato plants after wounding, or treatment with systemin, methyl jasmonate, or linolenic acid. CaM mRNA appeared within 0.5 h after wounding or supplying young tomato plants with systemin, and peaked at 1 h. The timing of CaM gene expression is similar to the expression of the wound- or systemin-induced lipoxygenase and prosystemin genes, signal pathway genes whose expression have been reported to begin at 0.5-1 h after wounding and 1-2 h earlier than the genes coding for defensive proteinase inhibitor genes. The similarities in timing between the synthesis of CaM mRNA and the mRNAs for signal pathway components suggests that CaM gene expression may be associated with the signaling cascade that activates defensive genes in response to wounding.