The accumulation of pathogenesis-related proteins (PR) in tobacco leaves has been casually related to pathogen and specific physiological stresses. The known enzymatic function of some of these proteins is potentially antimicrobial. By using antibodies specific to three classes of pathogenesis-related proteins, we examined tobacco plants during their normal growth. The pathogenesis-related proteins accumulated during the normal development of the tobacco flower. The PR-1 class of proteins (biological function unknown) is located in sepal tissue. PR-P, Q polypeptides are endochitinases and are present in pedicels, sepals, anthers, and ovaries. A glycoprotein serologically related to the PR-2,N,O class is a (1,3)-beta-glucanase and is present in pistils. Differential appearance during flower development, in situ localization, and post-translational processing of floral pathogenesis-related proteins point to a hitherto unsuspected function these classes of pathogenesis-related proteins play in the normal process of flowering and reproductive physiology.