A RING zinc finger ankyrin protein gene, designated AdZFP1, was isolated from drought-tolerant Artemisia desertorum Spreng by mRNA differential display and RACE. Its cDNA was 1723 bp and encoded a putative protein of 445 amino acids with a predicted molecular mass of 47.9 kDa and an isoelectric point (pI) of 7.49. A typical C3HC4-type RING finger domain was found at the C-terminal region of the AdZFP1 protein, and several groups of ankyrin repeats were found at the N-terminal region. Alignments of amino acid sequence showed that AdZFP1 was 66% identical to the Arabidopsis thaliana putative RING zinc finger ankyrin protein AAN31869. Transcriptional analysis showed that AdZFP1 was inducible under drought stress in root, stem and leaf of the plant. Semi-quantitative reverse-transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis showed that the transcript of AdZFP1 was strongly induced by exogenous abscisic acid (ABA) and also by salinity, cold and heat to some extent. Overexpression of the AdZFP1 gene in transgenic tobacco enhanced their tolerance to drought stress.