Phosphoinositide-specific phospholipase C (PI-PLC) catalyzes the hydrolysis of phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate to generate inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate and diacylglycerol, both of which act as secondary messengers in animal cells. In this report, we identified in Vigna radiata L. (mung bean) three distinct partial cDNAs (pVr-PLC1, pVr-PLC2, and pVr-PLC3), which encode forms of putative PI-PLC. All three Vr-PLC genes were transcriptionally active and displayed unique patterns of expression. The Vr-PLC1 and Vr-PLC2 transcripts were constitutively expressed to varying degrees in every tissue of mung bean plants examined. In contrast, the Vr-PLC3 mRNA level was very low under normal growth conditions and was rapidly induced in an abscisic acid-independent manner under environmental stress conditions (drought and high salinity). An isolated genomic clone, about 8.2 kb in length, showed that Vr-PLC1 and Vr-PLC3 are in tandem array in the mung bean genome. The predicted primary sequence of Vr-PLC3 (M(r)=67.4 kDa) is reminiscent of the delta-isoform of animal enzymes which contain core sequences found in typical PI-PLCs, such as the catalytic domain comprising X and Y motifs, a lipid-binding C2 domain, and the less conserved EF-hand domain. Results of in vivo targeting experiment using a green fluorescent protein (GFP) showed that the GFP-Vr-PLC3 fusion protein was localized primarily to the plasma membrane of the Arabidopsis protoplast. The C2 domain was essential for Vr-PLC3 to be targeted to the plasma membrane. The possible biological functions of stress-responsive Vr-PLC3 in mung bean plants are discussed.