The ability of colicin A, a bacteriocin produced by some Enterobacteriaceae, to fuse phospholipid vesicles at acidic pH, was demonstrated by electron microscopy and resonance energy transfer. The fusion depends on protein concentration and on the nature of the phospholipids. Vesicles, prepared from Escherichia coli phospholipids, fused one or more rounds at pH 4.5 upon addition of stoichiometric amounts of colicin A. Fusion was not only induced by pore-forming colicins (E1, K) but also by colicins that contain nuclease activities (E2, E3). By recombinant DNA technology it is shown that the first glycine-rich 70 NH2-terminal amino acids and, most probably, the extreme COOH-terminal end of colicin A are involved in the fusion activity of the protein. The physiological relevance of this property of colicins is discussed.