Upon infection of Sesbania rostrata with Azorhizobium caulinodans, nodules are formed on roots and stems. Stem nodules develop from abundantly distributed dormant root primordia. To acquire more insight into the meristem organization during stem nodule development, the expression patterns of a mitotic B1-type cyclin gene (Sesro; CycB1;1), a cyclin-dependent kinase gene (Cdc-2-1Sr), and a histone H4 gene (H4-1Sr) of S. rostrata were followed by in situ hybridization. Cdc2-1Sr transcripts were found in all cells of uninfected and infected root primordia. In uninfected root primordia, Sesro;CycB1;1 transcripts were detected in a few cells of the apical root meristem whereas H4-1Sr transcripts were abundant in this region. Interestingly, after inoculation with A. caulinodans, H4-1Sr transcripts disappeared in the root meristem and a patchy pattern of Sesro;CycB1;1 and H4-1Sr expression appeared in the cortex of the root primordium, reflecting the formation of globular nodule primordia. When bacterial invasion started, a distal nodule meristem was delimited wherein Sesro;CycB1;1 and H4-1Sr expression was concentrated. Approximately 1 week after inoculation, meristem activity ceased, indicated by the loss of Sesro;CycB1;1 and H4-1Sr expression.