The Arabidopsis Thi2.1 thionin gene was cloned and sequenced. The promoter was fused to the uidA gene and stably transformed into Arabidopsis to study its regulation. GUS expression levels correlated with the steady-state levels of Thi2.1 mRNA, thus demonstrating that the promoter is sufficient for the regulation of the Thi2.1 gene. The sensitivity of the Thi2.1 gene to methyl jasmonate was found to be developmentally determined. Systemic and local expression could be induced by wounding and inoculation with Fusarium oxysporum f sp. matthiolae. A deletion analysis of the promoter identified a fragment of 325 bp upstream of the start codon, which appears to contain all the elements necessary for the regulation of the Thi2.1 gene. These results support the view that thionins are defence proteins, and indicate the possibility that resistance of Arabidopsis plants to necrotrophic fungal pathogens is mediated through the octadecanoid pathway.