The products of plant disease resistance genes are postulated to recognize invading pathogens and rapidly trigger host defense responses. Here we describe isolation of the resistance gene N of tobacco that mediates resistance to the viral pathogen tobacco mosaic virus (TMV). The N gene was isolated by transposon tagging using the maize Activator transposon. A genomic DNA fragment containing the N gene conferred TMV resistance to TMV susceptible tobacco. Sequence analysis of the N gene shows that it encodes a protein of 131.4 kDa with an amino-terminal domain similar to that of the cytoplasmic domain of the Drosophila Toll protein and the interleukin-1 receptor (IL-1R) in mammals, a nucleotide-binding site (NBS), and 14 [corrected] imperfect leucine-rich repeats (LRR). The sequence similarity of N, Toll, and IL-1R suggests that N mediates rapid gene induction and TMV resistance through a Toll-IL-1-like pathway.