A SMART cDNA library from spleen of large yellow croaker (Pseudosciaena crocea) stimulated by poly I:C was constructed. A total of 1039 clones from the library were single-pass sequenced and compared with known sequences in the GenBank database. Of those expressed sequence tags (ESTs), 607 were identified as orthologs of known genes in the GenBank databases by Blast X search. Four hundred and thirty-two did not show significant homology with any known sequences in the public databases. These identified ESTs represented at least 252 different genes, which were categorised into nine groups according to their function. Of the identified genes, 159 genes (63.1%) shared homology with fish genes while 93 (36.9%) showed the highest homology to the genes from other species. Forty-six genes were identified to be involved in immune functions, including complement system components, immunoglobulins, antigen processing and presentation proteins, interferon system proteins, cytokines, and some innate defence molecules. The most frequently occurring genes in this spleen cDNA library were hepcidin precursors represented by 46 ESTs, which were divided into five groups based on their putative amino acid sequences. The expression analysis of selected genes during polyI:C induction was performed by reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR), including Mx protein, beta2-microglobulin (beta(2)m), CD2 binding protein 1(CD2BP1), placenta-specific 8 genes, MHC class II associated invariant chain (li) and cytochrome b-245 alpha peptide (Cyba). The results revealed that expression levels of Mx protein, beta(2)m, placenta-specific 8 genes, and Cyba were significantly upregulated at 30h after induction with poly I:C, and the CD2BP1 expression was also induced by polyI:C, suggesting that these genes may be involved in an immune response induced by poly I:C in large yellow croaker.