Glutathione reductase (GR) is one of important antioxidant enzymes in plants. This enzyme catalyzes the reduction of glutathione disulfide (GSSG) to reduced glutathione (GSH) with the accompanying oxidation of NADPH. Previously, we showed that salt-stress-responsive GR3 is a functional protein localized in chloroplasts and mitochondria in rice. To learn more about the role of GR3 in salt-stress tolerance, we investigated the response to 100 mM NaCl treatment in wild-type rice (WT); GR3 knockout mutant of rice (gr3); and the functional gr3-complementation line (C1). Rice GR3 was primarily expressed in roots at the seedling stage and ubiquitously expressed in all tissues except the sheath at heading stage. GR3 promoter-GUS was expressed in the vascular cylinder and cortex of root tissues in rice seedlings, vascular tissue of nodes, embryo and aleurone layer of seeds, and young flowers. Under both normal and salt-stress conditions, total GR activity was decreased by 20 % in gr3. Oxidative stress, indicated by malondialdehyde content, was greater in gr3 than the WT under salt stress. As compared with the WT, gr3 was sensitive to salt and methyl viologen; it showed inhibited growth, decreased maximal efficiency of photosystem II, decreased GSH and GSSG contents, and the ratio of GSH to GSSG. Conversely, the gr3-complementation line C1 rescued the tolerance to methyl viologen and salinity and recovered the growth and physiological damage caused by salinity. These results reveal that GR3 plays an important role in salt stress tolerance by regulating the GSH redox state in rice.