Legumes form symbiotic associations with both mycorrhizal fungi and nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria called rhizobia. Several of the plant genes required for transduction of rhizobial signals, the Nod factors, are also necessary for mycorrhizal symbiosis. Here, we describe the cloning and characterization of one such gene from the legume Medicago truncatula. The DMI1 (does not make infections) gene encodes a novel protein with low global similarity to a ligand-gated cation channel domain of archaea. The protein is highly conserved in angiosperms and ancestral to land plants. We suggest that DMI1 represents an ancient plant-specific innovation, potentially enabling mycorrhizal associations.