Genes and proteins related to patatin, the major storage protein of potato tubers, have been identified in many plant species and shown to be induced by a variety of environmental stresses. The Arabidopsis patatin-like gene family (PLPs) comprises nine members, two of which (PLP2 and PLP7) are strongly induced in leaves challenged with fungal and bacterial pathogens. Here we show that accumulation of PLP2 protein in response to Botrytis cinerea or Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato (avrRpt2) is dependent on jasmonic acid and ethylene signaling, but is not dependent on salicylic acid. Expression of a PLP2-green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusion protein and analysis of recombinant PLP2 indicates that PLP2 encodes a cytoplasmic lipid acyl hydrolase with wide substrate specificity. Transgenic plants with altered levels of PLP2 protein were generated and assayed for pathogen resistance. Plants silenced for PLP2 expression displayed enhanced resistance to B. cinerea, whereas plants overexpressing PLP2 were much more sensitive to this necrotrophic fungus. We also established a positive correlation between the level of PLP2 expression in transgenic plants and cell death or damage in response to paraquat treatment or infection by avirulent P. syringae. Interestingly, repression of PLP2 expression increased resistance to avirulent bacteria, while PLP2-overexpressing plants multiplied avirulent bacteria close to the titers reached by virulent bacteria. Collectively, the data indicate that PLP2-encoded lipolytic activity can be exploited by pathogens with different lifestyles to facilitate host colonization. In particular PLP2 potentiates plant cell death inflicted by Botrytis and reduces the efficiency of the hypersensitive response in restricting the multiplication of avirulent bacteria. Both effects are possibly mediated by providing fatty acid precursors of bioactive oxylipins.