Polygalacturonase-inhibiting proteins (PGIPs) are extracellular plant proteins capable of inhibiting fungal endopolygalacturonases (PGs). Plants have evolved different PGIPs with specific recognition abilities against the many PGs produced by fungi. The genes encoding PGIPs are organized into families, and different members of each family may encode proteins with nearly identical characteristics but different specificities and regulation. PGIPs are typically induced by pathogen infection and stress-related signals. The recognition ability of PGIPs resides in their LRR (leucine-rich repeat) structure, where solvent-exposed residues in the beta-strand/beta-turn motifs of the LRRs are determinants of specificity. Manipulation of the primary structure of PGIPs is expected to generate more efficient PGIPs with novel recognition specificities to protect crop plants against pathogens.