The wound response of tomato plants has been extensively studied, and provides a useful model to understand signal transduction events leading from injury to marker gene expression. The principal markers that have been used in these studies are genes encoding proteinase inhibitor (pin) proteins. Activation of pin genes occurs in the wounded leaf and in distant unwounded leaves of the plant. This paper reviews current understanding of signalling pathways in the wounded leaf, and in the systemically responding unwounded leaves. First, the nature of known elicitors and their potential roles in planta are discussed, in particular, oligogalacturonides, jasmonates and the peptide signal, systemin. Inhibitors of wound–induced proteinase inhibitor (pin) expression are also reviewed, with particular reference to phenolics, sulphydryl reagents and fusicoccin. In each section, results obtained from the bioassay are considered within the wider context of data from mutants and from transgenic plants with altered levels of putative signalling components. Following this introduction, current models for pin gene regulation are described and discussed, together with a summary for the involvement of phosphorylation–dephosphorylation in wound signalling. Finally, a new model for wound–induced pin gene expression is presented, arising from recent data from the author‘apos; laboratory.