An Aedes aegypti p38 (Aap38) mitogen-activated protein kinase was isolated and characterized in this study. The 1761 bp long full-length Aap38 cDNA encodes an open reading frame of 358 amino acids, exhibiting characteristics of Thr/Tyr dual kinase specificities. We showed that bacteria activate both the kinase activity of Aap38 and the expression of the Aedes aegypti defensin A (AaDefA) gene, which is inhibited by a p38 kinase inhibitor SB203580 and dsRNA interference of Aap38. A similar result was obtained by a reporter construct containing the AaDefA regulatory region linked to Ds-Red. The lipopolysaccharide-activated reporter gene was inhibited by SB203580. In addition, Aap38 translocated to the nucleus after lipopolysaccharide induction. Our findings suggest that the p38 protein kinase pathway is involved in the antibacterial peptide synthesis in mosquitoes.