Résumé : NH4+ is the main product of symbiotic nitrogen fixation and the external concentration of combined nitrogen plays a key regulatory role in all the different step of plant-rhizobia interaction. We report the cloning and characterization of the first member of the ammonium transporter family, LjAMT1;1 from a leguminous plant, Lotus japonicus. Sequence analysis reveals a close relationship to plant transporters of the AMT1 family. The wild type and two mutated versions of LjAMT1;1 were expressed and functionally characterized in yeast. LjAMT1;1 is transcribed in roots, leaves and nodules of L. japonicus plants grown under low nitrogen conditions, consistent with a role in uptake of NH4+ by the plant cells. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V.