In vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal symbioses, specialized fungal structures (the arbuscules) are formed which are in intimate contact with plant root cortical cells. It is assumed that these arbuscules are the major sites of solute transfer between the plant and fungus, but there have been no studies that definitively show the extent or types of transfer processes that occur in this structure. Phosphate is one of the major nutrients that is acquired by mycorrhizal fungi and transferred to plants. In this study a single Lycopersicon esculentum cDNA was cloned and shown to be identical to LePT1, a previously cloned inorganic-phosphate transporter. Expression studies revealed chat LePT1 transcript levels remained constant in mycorrhizal plants, but increased in phosphate-starved, nonmycorrhizal plants. Localization of the LePT1 transcript by in situ hybridization showed that this gene is highly expressed in arbuscule-containing cortical cells in mycorrhizal plants. In non-mycorrhizal plants LePT1 expression was localized to the stele and cortex. The expression studies suggest chat this transporter is involved in phosphate nutrition of L. esculentum and its localization in cells that contain arbuscules indicate that it may be the mechanism used by the plant to take up phosphate that is effluxed across the fungal plasma membrane of the arbuscule. Based on our findings and those of others, an integrated model of inorganic phosphate uptake and transfer in mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal plants is presented.