The expression of plant genes specifically induced during rhizobial infection and the early stages of nodule ontogeny (early nodulin genes) and those induced in the mature, nitrogen-fixing nodule (late nodulin genes) is differentially regulated and tissue/cell specific. We have been interested in the signal transduction pathway responsible for symbiotic, temporal and spatial control of expression of an early (Enod2) and a late (Leghemoglobin;lb) nodulin gene from the stem-nodulated legumeSesbania rostrata, and in identifying thecis-acting elements andtrans-acting factors involved in this process (De Bruijn and Schell, 1992). By introducing chimericS. rostrata lb promoter-gus reporter gene fusions into transgenicLotus corniculatus plants, we have been able to show that thelb promoter directs an infected-cell-specific expression pattern inLotus nodules. We have been able to delimit thecis-acting element responsible for nodule-infected-cell-expression to a 78 pb region of thelb promoter (NICE Element) and have analyzed this element in detail by site-specific mutagenesis. We have studied the interaction of the NICE element, and further upstreamcis-acting elements, withtrans-acting factors of both plant- and rhizobial origin. We have obtained evidence for the involvement of rhizobial proteins in infected-cell-specific plant gene expression (Welters et al., 1993). We have purified one of the bacterial binding proteins from theS. rostrata symbiontAzorhizobium caulinodans (AcBBP1), and cloned and mutated the corresponding gene, in order to examine its symbiotic phenotype. We have also found that theS. rostrata Enod2 gene is rapidly induced by physiologically significant concentrations of cytokinins, suggesting the role of cytokinin as a potential secondary signal involved in nodulation (Dehio and De Bruijn, 1992). We are examining whether the observed cytokinin induction, as well as the nodule-specific expression pattern, are modulated by theSrEnod2 promoter.