The lysis inhibitor protein S107 and the lysis effector protein S105 start at Met codons 1 and 3 of the Lambda S gene, respectively. The antagonistic action of both proteins precisely schedules lysis by formation of a non-specific lesion in the inner membrane through which the Lambda-encoded murein transglycosylase can pass. Here, we show that the main difference between lysis-effector and lysis-inhibitor is the degree by which an energized membrane inhibits either protein from hole formation. To dissect the structural parameters responsible for intrinsic inhibition of both proteins, charged amino acids were replaced proximal to the first putative membrane-spanning region in both S proteins. Our results show that the distribution of amino-terminal charged amino acids as well as the total amino-terminal net charge of S107 and S105 influence their lethal potential. The data are interpreted in terms of a model in which the electrostatic status of the amino-terminus of both S107 and S105 is an important feature affecting their conformational change required for formation of the S-dependent hole.