Plant photosynthesis results in the production of molecular oxygen. An inevitable consequence of this normal process is the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by the transfer of electrons to molecular oxygen. Plants are adequately protected by the presence of multiple antioxidative enzymes in different organelles of the plant such as chloroplasts, cytosol, mitochondria and peroxisomes. Under high light and CO(2) limiting conditions caused by environmental stress like salinity, these antioxidative enzymes play an important role in scavenging toxic radicals. To investigate the functions of antioxidative enzymes in a mangrove plant, we isolated three cDNAs encoding cytosolic Cu-Zn SOD (Sod1), catalase (Cat1) and ferritin (Fer1) from Avicennia marina cDNA library. Sod1, Cat1 and Fer1 cDNA encoded full-length proteins with 152, 492 and 261 amino acids respectively. We studied the expression of these antioxidant genes in response to salt, iron, hydrogen peroxide, mannitol and light stress by mRNA expression analysis. Cat1, Fer1 showed short-term induction while Sod1 transcript was found to be unaltered in response to NaCl stress. A decrease in mRNA levels was observed for Sod1, Cat1 while Fer1 mRNA levels remained unaltered with osmotic stress treatment. Sod1, Cat1 and Fer1 mRNA levels were induced by iron, light stress and by direct H(2)O(2) stress treatment, thus confirming their role in oxidative stress response.