Cyclophilin 18-2 (CYP18-2) genes, homologues of human peptidyl-prolyl isomerase-like 1 (PPiL1), are conserved across multicellular organisms and Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Although PPiL1 is known to interact with ski-interacting protein (SKIP), a transcriptional co-regulator and spliceosomal component, there have been no functional analyses of PPiL1 homologues in plants. Rice cyclophilin 18-2 (OsCYP18-2) bound directly to amino acids 56-95 of OsSKIP and its binding was independent of cyclosporin A, a cyclophilin-binding drug. Moreover, OsCYP18-2 exhibited PPIase activity regardless of its interaction with OsSKIP. Therefore, the binding site for OsCYP18-2's interaction with SKIP was distinct from the PPIase active site. OsCYP18-2's interaction with SKIP full-length protein enabled OsCYP18-2's translocation from the cytoplasm into the nucleus and AtSKIP interacted in planta with both AtCYP18-2 and OsCYP18-2. Drought and salt stress induced similar expression of OsCYP18-2 and OsSKIP. Overexpression of OsCYP18-2 in transgenic rice and Arabidopsis thaliana plants enhanced drought tolerance and altered expression and pre-mRNA splicing patterns of stress-related genes in Arabidopsis under drought conditions. Furthermore, OsCYP18-2 caused transcriptional activation with/without OsSKIP in the GAL4 system of yeast; thus the OsSKIP-OsCYP18-2 interaction has an important role in the transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of stress-related genes and increases tolerance to drought stress.