Plant pathogens elicit dramatic changes in the expression of host genes during both compatible and incompatible interactions. Gene expression profiling studies of plant-pathogen interactions have only considered messenger RNAs (mRNAs) present in total RNA, which contains subpopulations of actively translated mRNAs associated with polyribosomes (polysomes) and non-translated mRNAs that are not associated with polysomes. The goal of this study was to enhance previous gene expression analyses by identifying host mRNAs that become differentially associated with polysomes following pathogen inoculation. Total and polysomal RNA were extracted from barley (Hordeum vulgare) plants at 32 h after inoculation with Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei, and Arabidopsis thaliana plants at 10 days after inoculation with Turnip mosaic virus. Gene expression profiles were obtained for each pathosystem, which represent diverse plant host-obligate pathogen interactions. Using this approach, host mRNAs were identified that were differentially associated with polysomes in response to pathogen treatment. Approximately 18% and 26% of mRNAs represented by probe sets on the Affymetrix Barley1 and Arabidopsis ATH1 GeneChips, respectively, differentially accumulated in the two populations in one or more combinations of treatment and genotype. Gene ontology analysis of mRNAs sharing the same pattern of accumulation in total and polysomal RNA identified gene sets that contained a significant number of functionally related annotations, suggesting both transcript accumulation and recruitment to polyribosomes are coordinately regulated in these systems.