Seven putative protease inhibitor (PPI) cDNAs, representing four protein families, were isolated from a grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf. Cv. Marsh) immature fruit flavedo cDNA library. Cloned open reading frames encoded proteins with similarity to, and protein signatures for: legume Kuntiz inhibitors (lkiL-1, lkiL-2, lkiL-3), potato trypsin inhibitor I (ptiIL-1), serpins (serpL-1), cystatins (cystL-1), and gamma thionins (gthL-1). Response of transcript abundance to fruit development and leaf wounding was determined for all but lkiL-1 using real-time RT-PCR. Immature leaves had the highest transcript levels for all PPIs. The gthL-1 transcript in immature leaves was the most abundant transcript but was absent from healthy mature leaves. In fruit flavedo, transcripts for all PPIs were most abundant in youngest fruit (<15 mm dia. fruit), and declined during development, but displayed different patterns of developmental change. Mechanical or Diaprepes root weevil (DRW) feeding damage to leaves caused a <10-fold reduction or had no effect on transcript level with the exception of gthL-1 which, as a result of damage, increased >50-fold in mature leaves and decreased >1400-fold in immature leaves. This developmental control of transcript response to wounding in a woody perennial is opposite of what has been observed for defensive proteinase inhibitors (PIs) in other plants (typically herbaceous and/or annual plants), where younger leaves typically invoke a higher defensive proteinase inhibitor transcript accumulation than older tissues. Except for gthL-1, the PPI transcripts were minimally responsive or unresponsive to wounding. Changes in PPI transcript levels suggest diverse roles for the products of these genes in citrus, with only gthL-1 responding in a defense-like manner.