Eukaryotes have evolved various means for controlled and organized cellular destruction, known as programmed cell death (PCD). In plants, PCD is a crucial regulatory mechanism in multiple physiological processes, including terminal differentiation, senescence, and disease resistance. In this issue of Genes & Development, Hatsugai and colleagues (pp. 2496-2506) demonstrate a novel plant defense strategy to trigger bacteria-induced PCD, involving proteasome-dependent tonoplast and plasma membrane fusion followed by discharge of vacuolar antimicrobial and death-inducing contents into the apoplast. © 2009 by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.