Here we report the characterization of a new Nod factor-induced gene from Medicago truncatula identified by mRNA differential display. This gene, designated MtAnn1, encodes a protein homologous to the annexin family of calcium- and phospholipid-binding proteins. We further show that the MtAnn1 gene is also induced during symbiotic associations with Rhizobium meliloti, both at early stages in bacterial-inoculated roots and in nodule structures. By in situ hybridization, we demonstrate that MtAnn1 expression in nodules is mainly associated with the distal region of invasion zone II not containing infection threads, revealing MtAnn1 as a new marker gene of the pre-infection zone. Moreover, analyses of MtAnn1 expression in response to bacterial symbiotic mutants suggest that the expression of MtAnn1 during nodulation requires biologically active Nod factors and is independent of the infection process.