We are using acute ozone as an elicitor of endogenous reactive oxygen species (ROS) to understand oxidative signalling in Arabidopsis. Temporal patterns of ROS following a 6 h exposure to 300 nL L(-1) of ozone in ozone-sensitive Wassilewskija (Ws-0) ecotype showed a biphasic ROS burst with a smaller peak at 4 h and a larger peak at 16 h. This was accompanied by a nitric oxide (NO) burst that peaked at 9 h. An analysis of antioxidant levels showed that both ascorbate (AsA) and glutathione (GSH) were at their lowest levels, when ROS levels were high in ozone-stressed plants. Whole genome expression profiling analysis at 1, 4, 8, 12 and 24 h after initiation of ozone treatment identified 371 differentially expressed genes. Early induction of proteolysis and hormone-responsive genes indicated that an oxidative cell death pathway was triggered rapidly. Down-regulation of genes involved in carbon utilization, energy pathways and signalling suggested an inefficient defense response. Comparisons with other large-scale expression profiling studies indicated some overlap between genes induced by ethylene and ozone, and a significant overlap between genes repressed by ozone and methyl jasmonate treatment. Further, analysis of cis elements in the promoters of ozone-responsive genes also supports the view that phytohormones play a significant role in ozone-induced cell death.