Leaf senescence that occurs in the last stage of leaf development is a genetically programmed process. It is very significant to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that control the initiation and progression of leaf senescence and the way the senescence signal is transduced. In a previous study on artificially induced soybean leaf senescence, we cloned a novel gene designatedrlpk2 (Genbank Accession No. AY687391) that encodes a leucine-rich repeat (LRR) receptor like protein kinase. The expression level ofrlpk2 gene was shown to be strongly up-regulated during both the natural leaf senescence process in this report and the artificially induced primary-leaf-senescence process in our previous work. The RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated knocking-down ofrlpk2 dramatically retarded both the natural and nutrient deficiency-induced leaf senescence in transgenic soybean. The transgenic leaves showed more cell-aggregated surface structure and higher content of chlorophyll.