To investigate the wheat transcriptional profile under drought stress, a drought-tolerant variety of wheat (Triticum aestivum), Hanxuan 10, was treated with polyethylene glycol (PEG6000) and samples were collected at 0, 1, 6 and 24 h. Complementary DNA was labelled with fluorescent dye and hybridized with the BGI-RiceChip, a whole genome rice gene chip platform, which contains over 60 000 oligos based on the rice genome sequence. Data analysis detected 166, 207 and 328 differentially expressed genes (DGs), respectively, at 1, 6 and 24 h, indicating that the number of DGs increased with the length of the PEG treatment. Functional category analysis showed that the number of DGs related to energy metabolism pathways increased – 4.2%, 8.2% and 16.8%, respectively, as a proportion of the total number of DGs. Most of the photosynthesis-related genes were up-regulated. It is interesting to note that Psbr and ribulose-bisphosphate carboxylase (Rubisco)-coding genes were down-regulated, suggesting their potential role in the response to drought tolerance.