WRKY transcription factors in plants regulate diverse biological functions including abiotic and biotic stress responses, growth and development, embryogenesis and many other physiological processes. Indica and japonica genotypes of rice were identified to have 111 and 113 WRKY genes respectively in their genomes. Reports on the involvement of some of the WRKY genes in rice disease resistance covering the major diseases like blast and bacterial blight indicate the possibilities of further exploring these genes for the production of disease resistant varieties. In this review, we summarize the research progress on the function of WRKY transcription factors in rice disease resistance and discuss their relative importance for further exploration. The review will help researchers in choosing the candidate WRKY genes for characterization and evaluation in transgenic strategies for disease resistance development in rice. © 2015, Sociedade Brasileira de Fitopatologia.