The plant defensin, NaD1, from the flowers of Nicotiana alata displays potent antifungal activity against a variety of agronomically important filamentous fungi including Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. vasinfectum (Fov). To understand the mechanism of this antifungal activity, the effect of NaD1 on Fov fungal membranes and the location of NaD1 in treated hyphae was examined using various fluorescence techniques. NaD1 permeabilized fungal plasma membranes via the formation of an aperture with an internal diameter of between 14 and 22A. NaD1 bound to the cell walls of all treated hyphae and entered several hyphae, resulting in granulation of the cytoplasm and cell death. These results suggest that the activity of antifungal plant defensins may not be restricted to the hyphal membrane and that they enter cells and affect intracellular targets.