We investigated the role in pathogenesis of bacterial resistance to plant antimicrobial peptides. The sapA to sapF (for sensitive to antimicrobial peptides) operon from the pathogenic bacterium Erwinia chrysanthemi has been characterized. It has five openreading frames that are closely related (71% overall amino acid identity) and are in the same order as those of the sapA to sapF operon from Salmonella typhimurium. An E. chrysanthemi sap mutant strain was constructed by marker exchange. This mutant was more sensitive than was the wild type to wheat -thionin and to snakin-1, which is the most abundant antimicrobial peptide from potato tubers. This mutant was also less virulent thanwas the wild-type strain in potato tubers: lesion area was 37% that of the control, and growth rate was two orders of magnitude lower. These results indicate that the interaction of antimicrobial peptides from the host with the sapA to sapF operon from the pathogen plays a similar role in animal and in plant bacterial pathogenesis.