Abstract Two different types of nitrogen-fixing root nodules are known - actinorhizal nodules induced by Frankia and legume nodules induced by rhizobia. While legume nodules show a stem-like structure with peripheral vascular bundles, actinorhizal nodule lobes resemble modified lateral roots with a central vascular bundle. To compare carbon metabolism in legume and actinorhizal nodules, sucrose synthase and enolase cDNA clones were isolated from a cDNA library, obtained from actinorhizal nodules of Alnus glutinosa. The expression of the corresponding genes was markedly enhanced in nodules compared to roots. In situ hybridization showed that, in nodules, both sucrose synthase and enolase were expressed at high levels in the infected cortical cells as well as in the pericycle of the central vascular bundle of a nodule lobe. Legume sucrose synthase expression was studied in indeterminate nodules from pea and determinate nodules from Phaseolus vulgaris by using in situ hybridization.