Cryptogein (CRY), a protein secreted by Phytophthora cryptogea, causes necrosis on tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) plants at the site of application (the stem or the roots) and also on distant leaves. Autoradiography of plantlets after root absorption of radioiodinated CRY demonstrated a rapid migration of the label to the leaf lamina via the veins. Using an anti-CRY antiserum, a CRY-related antigen was detected in the stem and leaves of CRY-treated plants at a distance from the site of application. This antigen had the same molecular weight as CRY and was detected in the leaves as early as 1 hour after stem treatment, i.e. long before necrosis was detectable. The antigen was also detected in plants inoculated with P. cryptogea. The distant location of the necrosis induced by the fungus or by CRY can be ascribed to the migration of this protein, which is toxic to tobacco cells. It is proposed that CRY, which also elicits defense reactions in tobacco, might contribute to the hypersensitive response of tobacco to P. cryptogea.