Jasmonic acid and its derivatives can modulate aspects of fruit ripening, production of viable pollen, root growth, tendril coiling, and plant resistance to insects and pathogens. Jasmonate activates genes involved in pathogen and insect resistance, and genes encoding vegetative storage proteins, but represses genes encoding proteins involved in photosynthesis. Jasmonic acid is derived from linolenic acid, and most of the enzymes in the biosynthetic pathway have been extensively characterized. Modulation of lipoxygenase and allene oxide synthase gene expression in transgenic plants raises new questions about the compartmentation of the biosynthetic pathway and its regulation. The activation of jasmonic acid biosynthesis by cell wall elicitors, the peptide systemin, and other compounds will be related to the function of jasmonates in plants. Jasmonate modulates gene expression at the level of translation, RNA processing, and transcription. Promoter elements that mediate responses to jasmonate have been isolated. This review covers recent advances in our understanding of how jasmonate biosynthesis is regulated and relates this information to knowledge of jasmonate modulated gene expression.