We studied the local response to wounding in Arabidopsis thaliana leaves using a two-step microarray analysis. A microarray containing 3500 cDNA clones was first screened to enrich for genes affected by wounding in the immediate vicinity of the wound (4 h post wounding). 359 non-redundant putative wound responsive genes were then spotted on a smaller wound-response array for detailed analysis of spatial expression (local, adjacent and systemic), timing of expression (0.5, 4, 8, 17 h), and effect of hormone treatments (methyl jasmonate, ethylene and abscisic acid). Our results show that genes that respond early at the site of the wound also respond throughout the plant, with similar kinetics. Early-induced genes which respond systemically encode predominantly signal transduction and regulatory factors (36%), and the expression of many of them is also controlled by methyl jasmonate (about 35% of the 36%). Genes specific to the wound site and the wounded leaf have a slower response to wounding and are mainly metabolic genes. At the wound, many genes of the lignin biosynthesis pathway were induced. In silico analysis of the 5' promoter regions of genes affected by wounding revealed G-box-related motifs in a significant proportion of the promoters. These results show that the establishment of a systemic response to wounding is a priority for the plant, and that the local response at the wound site is established later. Ethylene and abscisic acid are involved in the local response, regulating repression of photosynthetic genes and expression of drought responsive genes respectively.