Pathogen-inducible plant promoters contain multiple cis-acting elements, only some of which may contribute to pathogen inducibility. Therefore, we made defined synthetic promoters containing tetramers of only a single type of element and present evidence that a range of cis-acting elements (boxes W1, W2, GCC, JERE, S, Gst1, and D) can mediate local gene expression in planta after pathogen attack. The expression patterns of the promoters were monitored during interactions with a number of pathogens, including compatible, incompatible, and nonhost interactions. Interestingly, there were major differences in the inducibilities of the various promoters with the pathogens tested as well as differences in the speed of induction and in the basal expression levels. We also show that defense signaling is largely conserved across species boundaries at the cis-acting element level. Many of these promoters also direct local wound-induced expression, and this provides evidence for the convergence of resistance gene, nonhost, and wound responses at the level of the promoter elements. We have used these cis-acting elements to construct improved synthetic promoters and show the effects of varying the number, order, and spacing of such elements. These promoters are valuable additions to the study of signaling and transcriptional activation during plant-pathogen interactions.