A cDNA and a corresponding genomic clone encoding a protein with partial identity to type II proteinase inhibitors from potato, tomato and Nicotiana alata, were isolated from tobacco libraries. The protein of 197 amino acids contains a putative signal peptide of 24 residues and three homologous domains, each with a different reactive site. The tobacco PI-II gene is not expressed in leaves of healthy plants, but is locally induced in leaves subjected to different types of stress (TMV infection, wounding, UV irradiation) and upon ethephon treatment. As opposed to the analogous PI-II genes of potato and tomato, the tobacco gene is not systemically induced by wounding or pathogenic infection. A far-upstream region in the PI-II promoter, containing various direct and indirect repeats, shares considerable sequence similarity to a similar region in the stress-inducible Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase gene of N. plumbaginifolia.