14-3-3 proteins function as regulators of a wide range of target proteins in all eukaryotes by effecting direct protein-protein interactions. Primarily, interactions between 14-3-3 proteins and their targets are mediated by phosphorylation at specific sites on the target protein. Hence, interactions with 14-3-3s are subject to environmental control through signalling pathways which impact on 14-3-3 binding sites. Because 14-3-3 proteins regulate the activities of many proteins involved in signal transduction, there are multiple levels at which 14-3-3 proteins may play roles in stress responses in higher plants. In this article, we review evidence which implicates 14-3-3 proteins in responses to environmental, metabolic and nutritional stresses, as well as in defence responses to wounding and pathogen attack. This evidence includes stress-inducible changes in 14-3-3 gene expression, interactions between 14-3-3 proteins and signalling proteins and interactions between 14-3-3 proteins and proteins with defensive functions.