NEP1-like proteins (NLPs) are secreted proteins from fungi, oomycetes and bacteria, triggering immune responses and cell death in dicotyledonous plants. It has been unclear for a long time, whether NLPs are toxins or triggers of plant immunity. In a recent study we report that NLPs are toxins that exert cytolytic activity on dicotyledonous plants. Mutational analysis revealed a causal link between membrane damaging, cell death inducing and virulence promoting properties of NLPs. Interestingly, also induction of immune responses by NLPs required the same protein fold, providing evidence for damage-induced immunity in plants. Structural similarity to pore forming toxins from marine invertebrates allows the proposal of a model for the mode of NLP interaction with the host's membrane.