Kluyveromyces lactis zymocin, a trimeric (alphabetagamma) protein toxin complex, inhibits proliferation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells. Here we present an analysis of kti6 mutants, which resist exogenous zymocin but are sensitive to intracellular expression of its inhibitory gamma-toxin subunit, suggesting that KTI6 encodes a factor needed for toxin entry into the cell. Consistent with altered cell surface properties, kti6 cells resist hygromycin B, syringomycin E, and nystatin, antibiotics that require intact membrane potentials or provoke membrane disruption. KTI6 is allelic to IPT1, coding for mannosyl-diinositolphospho-ceramide [M(IP)(2)C] synthase, which produces M(IP)(2)C, the major plasma membrane sphingolipid. kti6 membranes lack M(IP)(2)C and sphingolipid mutants that have reduced levels of M(IP)(2)C precursors, including the sphingolipid building block ceramide survive zymocin. In addition, kti6/ipt1 cells allow zymocin docking but prevent import of its toxic gamma-subunit. Genetic analysis indicates that Kti6 is likely to act upstream of lipid raft proton pump Kti10/Pma1, a previously identified zymocin sensitivity factor. In sum, M(IP)(2)C operates in a plasma membrane step that follows recognition of cell wall chitin by zymocin but precedes the involvement of elongator, the potential toxin target.