The technique of proteome analysis using 2-DE has the power to monitor global changes that occur in the protein complement of tissues and subcellular compartments. In this review, we describe construction of the rice proteome database, the cataloging of rice proteins, and the functional characterization of some of the proteins identified. Initially, proteins extracted from various tissues and organelles were separated by 2-DE and an image analyzer was used to construct a display or reference map of the proteins. The rice proteome database currently contains 23 reference maps based on 2-DE of proteins from different rice tissues and subcellular compartments. These reference maps comprise 13 129 rice proteins, and the amino acid sequences of 5092 of these proteins are entered in the database. Major proteins involved in growth or stress responses have been identified by using a proteomics approach and some of these proteins have unique functions. Furthermore, initial work has also begun on analyzing the phosphoproteome and protein-protein interactions in rice. The information obtained from the rice proteome database will aid in the molecular cloning of rice genes and in predicting the function of unknown proteins.