© 2017 The Author(s). Cotton leaf curl disease (CLCuD), caused by cotton leaf curl viruses (CLCuVs), is among the most devastating diseases in cotton. While the widely cultivated cotton species Gossypium hirsutum is generally susceptible, the diploid species G. arboreum is a natural source for resistance against CLCuD. However, the influence of CLCuD on the G. arboreum transcriptome and the interaction of CLCuD with G. arboreum remains to be elucidated. Here we have used an RNA-Seq based study to analyze differential gene expression in G. arboreum under CLCuD infestation. G. arboreum plants were infested by graft inoculation using a CLCuD infected scion of G. hirsutum. CLCuD infested asymptomatic and symptomatic plants were analyzed with RNA-seq using an Illumina HiSeq. 2500. Data analysis revealed 1062 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in G. arboreum. We selected 17 genes for qPCR to validate RNA-Seq data. We identified several genes involved in disease resistance and pathogen defense. Furthermore, a weighted gene co-expression network was constructed from the RNA-Seq dataset that indicated 50 hub genes, most of which are involved in transport processes and might have a role in the defense response of G. arboreum against CLCuD. This fundamental study will improve the understanding of virus-host interaction and identification of important genes involved in G. arboreum tolerance against CLCuD.