Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst) is an obligate biotrophic fungus that causes the destructive wheat stripe rust disease worldwide. Due to the lack of reliable transformation and gene disruption method, knowledge about the function of Pst genes involved in pathogenesis is limited. Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) genes have been shown in a number of plant pathogenic fungi to play critical roles in regulating various infection processes. In the present study, we identified and characterized the first MAPK gene PsMAPK1 in Pst. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that PsMAPK1 is a YERK1 MAP kinase belonging to the Fus3/Kss1 class. Single nucleotide polymerphisms (SNPs) and insertion/deletion were detected in the coding region of PsMAPK1 among six Pst isolates. Real-time RT-PCR analyses revealed that PsMAPK1 expression was induced at early infection stages and peaked during haustorium formation. When expressed in Fusarium graminearum, PsMAPK1 partially rescued the map1 mutant in vegetative growth and pathogenicity. It also partially complemented the defects of the Magnaporthe oryzae pmk1 mutant in appressorium formation and plant infection. These results suggest that F. graminearum and M. oryzae can be used as surrogate systems for functional analysis of well-conserved Pst genes and PsMAPK1 may play a role in the regulation of plant penetration and infectious growth in Pst.