Plant phosphorus (P) remobilisation during leaf senescence has fundamental implications for global P cycle fluxes. Hypothesising that genes involved in remobilisation of P from leaves during grain filling would show altered expression in response to P deprivation, we investigated gene expression in rice flag leaves at 8 days after anthesis (DAA) and 16 DAA in plants that received a continuous supply of P in the nutrient solution vs plants where P was omitted from the nutrient solution for 8 consecutive days prior to measurement. The transcriptional response to growth in the absence of P differed between the early stage (8 DAA) and the later stage (16 DAA) of grain filling. At 8 DAA, rice plants maintained production of energy substrates through upregulation of genes involved in photosynthesis. In contrast, at 16 DAA carbon substrates were produced by degradation of structural polysaccharides and over 50% of highly upregulated genes in P-deprived plants were associated with protein degradation and nitrogen/amino acid transport, suggesting withdrawal of P from the nutrient solution led to accelerated senescence. Genes involved in liberating inorganic P from the organic P compounds and vacuolar P transporters displayed differential expression depending on the stage of grain filling stage and timing of P withdrawal.