Differentially expressed genes in response to rust infection (Puccinia sp.) in creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra var. rubra) were identified and quantified using the mRNA differential display technique. The differentially induced genes were identified as homologs of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) 3 of Arabidopsis thaliana, stem rust resistance protein Rpg1 of barley and Hsp70 of Spinacia oleracea. The change in the steady state expression levels of these genes in response to rust infection was tested by Northern blot analysis and further quantified by real-time PCR. A steady accumulation of transcripts in the course of rust infection was observed. Full-length transcript of a fescue MPK-3 was obtained by RACE PCR. Its corresponding cDNA encodes a protein with a predicted MW of 42.5 kDa which was mapped onto the structural model of homologs MAPK to illustrate the corresponding MAPK signature motifs. This study, for the first time, presents evidence on the rust infection dependent metabolic pathways in creeping red fescue. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.