The vigorous production of oxygenated fatty acids (oxylipins) is a characteristic response to pathogenesis and herbivory, and is often accompanied by the substantial release of small and reactive lipid-fragmentation products. Some oxylipins, most notably those of the jasmonate family, have key roles as potent regulators. Recent advances have been made in understanding oxylipin-regulated signal transduction in response to attack. Much jasmonate signaling takes place via a genetically defined signal network that is linked to the ethylene, auxin, and salicylic acid signal pathways, but a second aspect of jasmonate signaling is emerging. Some jasmonates and several newly discovered cyclopentenone lipids can activate or repress gene expression through the activities of a conserved electrophilic atom group.