Hard surface contact has been known to be necessary to induce infection structure (appressorium) formation in many phytopathogenic fungi. However, the molecular basis of this requirement is unknown. We have used a differential display approach to clone some of the genes induced in the conidia by hard surface contact. We report that one of the genes induced by hard-surface contact of the conidia of Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, chip6, encodes a protein with homology to sterol glycosyl transferases. chip6 expressed in E. coli catalyses glucosyl transfer from UDP-glucose to cholesterol. Disruption of chip6 causes a marked decrease in the transferase activity and a drastic reduction in virulence on its natural host, avocado fruits, although the mutant is capable of normal growth and appressorium formation. The requirement for sterol glycosyl transferase for pathogenicity suggests a novel biological function for this transferase.