Localized wounding of one leaf in intact tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) plants triggers rapid systemic transcriptional responses that might be involved in defense. To better understand the mechanism(s) of intercellular signal transmission in wounded tomatoes, and to identify the array of genes systemically up-regulated by wounding, a subtractive cDNA library for wounded tomato leaves was constructed. A novel cDNA clone (designated LebZIP1) encoding a DNA-binding protein was isolated and identified. This clone appears to be encoded by a single gene, and belongs to the family of basic leucine zipper domain (bZIP) transcription factors shown to be up-regulated by cold and dark treatments. Analysis of the mRNA levels suggests that the transcript for LebZIP1 is both organ-specific and up-regulated by wounding. In wounded wild-type tomatoes, the LebZIP1 mRNA levels in distant tissue were maximally up-regulated within only 5 min following localized wounding. Exogenous abscisic acid (ABA) prevented the rapid wound-induced increase in LebZIP1 mRNA levels, while the basal levels of LebZIP1 transcripts were higher in the ABA mutants notabilis (not), sitiens (sit), and flacca (flc), and wound-induced increases were greater in the ABA-deficient mutants. Together, these results suggest that ABA acts to curtail the wound-induced synthesis of LebZIP1 mRNA.