The apparent under-representation of the term 'plant disease susceptibility' as opposed to 'plant disease resistance' in the current scientific literature might indicate that 'compatibility' has not gained the same appreciation as 'resistance' in the past. However, these seemingly contrary phenomena are intimately linked, and progress in understanding one process inherently contributes to our comprehension of the other. Recent progress in analyzing plant-biotroph compatibility includes the molecular isolation and functional characterization of haustorium-specific cDNAs that encode presumptive hexose- and amino-acid-transporter proteins for proton-driven nutrient uptake. Accumulating evidence from cytological, pharmacological, phytopathological and molecular studies indicates that pathogens mediate the suppression of host defenses in a range of plant-biotroph interactions. Arabidopsis thaliana mutants that are resistant to powdery or downy mildew but that do not exhibit constitutively activated defense could be affected in host-compatibility factors.