The physiological response to drought was measured in two common bean varieties with contrastive susceptibility to drought stress. A subtractive cDNA library was constructed from the two cultivars, Phaseolus vulgaris ‘Pinto Villa’ (tolerant) and ‘Carioca’ (susceptible). 18 cDNAs displayed protein-coding genes associated with drought, cold and oxidative stress, signal transduction, plant defense, chloroplast function and unknown function. A cDNA coding for an aquaporin (AQP) was selected for further analyses. The open reading frames (ORFs) of AQPs from ‘Pinto Villa’ and ‘Carioca’ were compared and despite their similarity, accumulated differentially in the plant organs, as demonstrated by Northern blot and in situ hybridization. A phylogenetic analysis of the deduced amino acid sequence with other AQPs suggested a tonoplast-located protein. Under drought conditions, the levels of AQP mRNA from the susceptible cultivar decreased to undetectable levels; by contrast, ‘Pinto Villa’ mRNA was present and restricted the phloem tissue. This would allow ‘Pinto Villa’ to maintain vascular tissue functions under drought stress.