Many bacterial pathogens cause disease by injecting virulence proteins (effectors) into host cells via the specialized type III secretion system. Recently, exceptional progress in identifying effectors was made in the phytopathogen Pseudomonas syringae using a novel genetic screen and bioinformatic approach. These studies, along with localization experiments, suggest that most P. syringae effectors function by targeting the plasma membrane, chloroplasts or mitochondria of host cells. The type III secretome of P. syringae is highly variable and dynamic, a lesson gleaned from a comparative genomic analysis. Variation in the effector repertoire is likely to facilitate the adaptation of P. syringae to different hosts.