The activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) has been previously implicated in signal transduction during plant responses to pathogen attack as well as to various environmental stresses. We have isolated from rice a new MAPK cDNA, OsBIMK1 ( O ryza s ativa L. BTH-induced MAPK 1), which encodes a 369-amino-acid protein with moderate to high nucleotide sequence similarity to previously reported plant MAPK genes. OsBIMK1 contains all 11 of the MAPK conserved subdomains and the phosphorylation-activation motif, TEY. We analyzed in detail the expression of OsBIMK1 upon treatment with various chemical and biological inducers of resistance responses in rice and in both incompatible and compatible interactions between rice and Magnaporthe grisea. Expression of OsBIMK1 was activated rapidly upon treatment with benzothiadiazole (BTH) as well as with dichloroisonicotinic acid, probenazole, jasmonic acid and its methyl ester, Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae, or wounding. Expression of OsBIMK1 was induced rapidly during the first 36 h after inoculation with M. grisea in BTH-treated rice seedlings and in an incompatible interaction between M. grisea and a blast-resistant rice genotype. BTH treatment induced a systemic activation of OsBIMK1 expression. These results suggest that OsBIMK1 plays an important role in rice disease resistance.