To identify genes induced during Pseudoperonospora cubensis (Berk. and Curk.) Rostov. infection in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.), the suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) was performed using mixed cDNAs prepared from cucumber seedlings inoculated with the pathogen as a tester and cDNA from uninfected cucumber seedlings as a driver. A forward subtractive cDNA library (FSL) and a reverse subtractive cDNA library (RSL) were constructed, from which 1,416 and 1,128 recombinant clones were isolated, respectively. Differential screening of the preferentially expressed recombinant clones identified 58 unique expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from FSL and 29 from RSL. The ESTs with significant protein homology were sorted into 13 functional categories involved in nearly the whole process of plant defense such as signal transduction and cell defense, transcription, cell cycle and DNA processing, protein synthesis, protein fate, proteins with binding functions, transport, metabolism and energy. The expressions of twenty-five ESTs by real-time quantitative RT-PCR confirmed that differential gene regulation occurred during P. cubensis infection and inferred that higher and earlier expression of transcription factors and signal transduction associated genes together with ubiquitin/proteasome and polyamine biosynthesis pathways may contribute to the defense response of cucumber to P. cubensis infection. The transcription profiling of selected down-regulated genes revealed that suppression of the genes in reactive oxygen species scavenging system and photosynthesis pathway may inhibit disease development in the host tissue.