hrp genes control the ability of phytopathogenic bacteria to cause disease and to elicit hypersensitive reactions on resistant plants. Genetic and biochemical studies have demonstrated that Hrp proteins are components of Type III secretion systems, regulatory proteins, proteinaceous elicitors of the hypersensitive reaction, and enzymes needed for synthesis of periplasmic glucans. Significantly, Type III secretion systems are involved with the secretion of pathogenicity proteins in bacterial pathogens of animals. The transcriptional activation of a number of bacterial avirulence (avr) genes is controlled by Hrp regulatory proteins, and recent experimental evidence suggests that Avr proteins may be transported by Hrp secretion systems. It has also been hypothesized that pathogenicity and/or virulence gene products exit bacterial phytopathogens via Hrp pathways. Thus, hrp genes may be one of the most important groups of genes found in phytopathogenic bacteria in relationship to pathogenicity and host range.