We report the isolation by differential display of a novel tomato ethylene-responsive cDNA, designated ER5. RT-PCR analysis of ER5 expression revealed an early (15 min) and transient induction by ethylene in tomato fruit, leaves and roots. ER5 mRNA accumulated during 2 h of ethylene treatment and thereafter underwent a dramatic decline leading to undetectable expression after 5 h of treatment. The full-length cDNA clone of 748 bp was obtained and DNA sequence analysis showed strong homologies to members of the atypical hydrophobic group of the LEA protein family. The predicted amino acid sequence shows 67%, 64%, 64%, and 61% sequence identity with the tomato Lemmi9, soybean D95-4, cotton Lea14-A, and resurrection plant pcC27-45 gene products, respectively. As with the other members of this group, ER5 encodes a predominantly hydrophobic protein. Prolonged drought stress stimulates ER5 expression in leaves and roots, while ABA induction of this ethylene-responsive clone is confined to the leaves. The use of 1-MCP, an inhibitor of ethylene action, indicates that the drought induction of ER5 is ethylene-mediated in tomato roots. Finally, wounding stimulates ER5 mRNA accumulation in leaves and roots. Among the Lea gene family this novel clone is the first to display an ethylene-regulated expression.