The ENOD12 gene family in pea consists of two different members. The cDNA clone, pPsENOD12, represents the PsENOD12A gene. The second ENOD12 gene, PsENOD12B, was selected from a genomic library using pPsENOD12 as a probe and this gene was sequenced and characterized. The coding regions of the two genes are strikingly similar. Both encode proteins having a signal peptide sequence and a region with pentapeptide units rich in prolines. ENOD12A has a series of rather conserved repeating pentapeptide units, whereas in ENOD12B the number of pentapeptide units is less and these are less conserved. From the amino acid sequence it is obvious that the PsENOD12 genes encode proline-rich proteins which are closely related to proteins that have been identified as components of soybean cell walls (SbPRPs). Previously, Northern blot analyses had shown that ENOD12 genes are expressed in a tissues-pecific manner. A high expression level is found in Rhizobium-infected roots and in nodules, whereas expression in flower and stem is lower. This raised the question of which gene is expressed where and when. The availability of the sequences of both ENOD12 genes allowed us to analyse the expression of the two genes separately. Specific oligonucleotides were used to copy the ENOD12 mRNAs and to amplify the cDNAs in a polymerase chain reaction. It was demonstrated that in all the tissues containing ENOD12 mRNA, both genes PsENOD12A and PsENOD12B are transcribed and that the relative amounts of PsENOD12A and PsENOD12B mRNA within each tissue are more or less equal. Moreover, the expression pattern during infection and nodule development is the same for the two genes. These results show that two closely related genes have the same tissue-specific expression pattern and that the gene that we have isolated is an actively transcribed gene. The 2.7 kb genomic region that contains the PsENODI2B gene has a 41 pb nearly direct repeat in the 5 flanking region of the gene (between -1447 and -1153) and another 14 by direct repeat 3' downstream (between 550 and 626). The region between the AGGA box and the TATA box has a striking homology with the same region in SbPRP genes.