Changes in gene expression may lead to cellular adaptation of water-deficit stress, yet all of the induced mRNAs may not play this role. Changes in gene expression must be signalled by transduction mechanisms that first sense a water deficit. This first step triggers changes in gene expression that function to synthesize additional signals such as abscisic acid (ABA). The enzymes involved in ABA biosynthesis have been cloned and their regulation during water-deficit stress is being characterized. Once ABA levels are increased, further signalling mechanisms are initiated to signal new gene expression patterns that are proposed to play a role in cellular adaptation to water-deficit stress. As the genome of Arabidopsis is now completed, much more information can be exploited to characterize these responses.