Prorocentrum donghaiense caused large-scale red tides off Chinese coast in recent years. Expressed sequence tag (EST) analysis was carried out for this dinoflagellate in order to identify the genes involved in its proliferation and death. A cDNA library was constructed for P. donghaiense at late exponential growth phase, and 308 groups of EST were generated, which include 36 contigs and 272 singletons. Among 22 groups showed homologies with known genes, 2 matched significantly with caspase and proliferating cell nuclear antigen. Caspase and proliferating cell nuclear antigen are 2 key proteins involved in programmed cell death. Their identification evidenced preliminarily the induction of PCD in aging P. donghaiense. The identified included also calmodulin and protein phosphatase, two proteins involved in diverse cell processes including PCD by binding to or modifying others.