Enoyl-acyl carrier protein reductase (FabI) plays a determinant role in completing cycles of elongation in type II fatty acid synthase systems and is an important target for antibacterial drugs. The FabI component of Staphylococcus aureus (saFabI) was identified, and its properties were compared with Escherichia coli FabI (ecFabI). ecFabI and saFabI had similar specific activities, and saFabI expression complemented the E. coli fabI(Ts) mutant, illustrating that the Gram-positive FabI was interchangeable with the Gram-negative FabI enzyme. However, ecFabI was specific for NADH, whereas saFabI exhibited specific and positive cooperative binding of NADPH. Triclosan and hexachlorophene inhibited both ecFabI and saFabI. The triclosan-resistant ecFabI(G93V) protein was also refractory to hexachlorophene inhibition, illustrating that both drugs bind at the FabI active site. Both the introduction of a plasmid expressing the safabI gene or a missense mutation in the chromosomal safabI gene led to triclosan resistance in S. aureus; however, these strains did not exhibit cross-resistance to hexachlorophene. The replacement of the ether linkage in triclosan by a carbon bridge in hexachlorophene prevented the formation of a stable FabI-NAD(P)(+)-drug ternary complex. Thus, the formation of this ternary complex is a key determinant of the antibacterial activity of FabI inhibitors.