In search for components of MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) cascades in rice (Oryza sativa L. cv. Nipponbare), we identified a single copy gene called OsMSRMK2 from jasmonic acid (JA) treated rice seedling leaf cDNA library. This gene has a conserved protein kinase domain, including a MAPK family signature, and encodes a 369 amino acid polypeptide with a predicted molecular mass of 42995.43 and a pI of 5.48. OsMSRMK2 did not show constitutive expression in leaves and was induced within 15 min in response to wounding by cut. Using in vitro system, we show that the expression of OsMSRMK2 mRNA was potently enhanced within 15 min by signalling molecules, protein phosphatase inhibitors, ultraviolet irradiation, fungal elicitor, heavy metals, high salt and sucrose, and drought. OsMSRMK2 expression was further modulated by co-application of JA, salicylic acid, and ethylene and required de novo synthesized protein factor(s) in its transient regulation. Moreover, high (37 degrees C) and low temperatures (12 degrees C) and environmental pollutants-ozone and sulfur dioxide-differentially regulate the OsMSRMK2 mRNA accumulation in leaves of intact plants. Present results demonstrating dramatic transcriptional and transient regulation of the OsMSRMK2 expression by diverse biotic/abiotic stresses, a first report for any rice (or plant) MAPK to date, suggest a role for OsMSRMK2 in rice defense/stress response pathways.