A cDNA clone (Mt4) was isolated as a result of a differential screen to identify genes showing altered expression during the interaction between Medicago truncatula and the vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal (VAM) fungus Glomus versiforme. Mt4 represents a M. truncatula mRNA that contains numerous short open reading frames, the two longest of which are predicted to encode polypeptides of 51 amino acids each. One of these open reading frames shares a short region of identity with a phosphate starvation-inducible gene from tomato. Mt4 gene expression is regulated in response to colonization by mycorrhizal fungi: transcripts were detected in non-colonized roots and levels decreased in both M. truncatula and M. sativa (alfalfa) roots after colonization by G. versiforme. Transcript levels also decreased during the incomplete interaction between G. versiforme and a M. sativa mycorrhizal minus (myc-) line, indicating that the down-regulation of this gene occurs early during the interaction between the fungus and its host plant. Phosphate levels in the nutrient media also affected the expression of the Mt4 gene: transcripts were present in the roots of plants grown under phosphate-deficient conditions, but were undetectable in the roots of plants grown under phosphate sufficient conditions. Furthermore, expression was only observed when plants were grown under nitrogen-sufficient conditions. Northern blot analyses indicate that Mt4 transcripts are present primarily in roots and barely detectable in stems or leaves. Thus, Mt4 represents a M. truncatula gene whose expression is regulated in response to both colonization by mycorrhizal fungi and to the phosphate status of the plant.