We have constructed a Sesbania rostrata stem nodule-specific cDNA library. By screening with heterologous probes from pea and soybean, we have isolated several nodulin cDNA clones. On the basis of nucleotide and amino acid sequence homology, two nearly full-length cDNA clones coding for two different leghemoglobin-like proteins have been identified. The inserts of two other clones reveal a high degree of amino acid sequence homology (81% and 72%) to the early nodulin Enod2 from soybean; the characteristic heptapeptide repeat units PPHEKPP and PPYEKPP of the soybean Enod2 are conserved in the proteins encoded by these Sesbania cDNA clones. The time course of Enod2 and leghemoglobin mRNA appearance during the formation of stem nodules and root nodules on S. rostrata was analyzed by northern blot hybridization. Significant differences were found for the initiation of mRNA accumulation of these nodulins between S. rostrata and soybean.