The molecular basis of non-host resistance, or species-specific resistance, remains one of the major unknowns in the study of plant-microbe interactions. In this paper, we describe the characterization of a non-host pathosystem involving the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and the economically important and destructive oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestans. Cytological investigations into the early stages of this interaction revealed the germination of A infestans cysts on Arabidopsis leaves, direct penetration of epidermal cells, formation of infection vesicles and occasionally secondary hyphae, followed by a typical hypersensitive response. A infestans biomass dynamics during infection of Arabidopsis was monitored using kinetic PCR, revealing an increase in biomass during the first 24 h after inoculation, followed by a decrease in the later stages. Transgenic reporter lines and RNA blot analyses were used to characterize the defence responses induced following P. infestans infection. Significant induction of PDF1.2 was observed at 48 h after inoculation, whereas elevated levels of PR gene expression were detected three days after inoculation. To further characterize this defence response, DNA microarray analyses were carried out to determine the expression profiles for c. 11 000 Arabidopsis cDNAs 16 h after infection. These analyses revealed a significant overlap between Arabidopsis non-host response and other defence-related treatments described in the literature. In particular, non-host response to P. infestans was clearly associated with activation of the jasmonate pathway. The described Arabidopsis-P. infestans pathosystem offers excellent prospects for improving our understanding of non-host resistance.