The effects of lipo-chitin oligosaccharide Nod factors (NodNGR[S] from Rhizobium sp. NGR234) on root hair deformation in Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp. were studied using pharmacological agents to mimic and/or inhibit their action. It was hypothesised that the rearrangement of the cytoskeleton seen during Nod factor induced root hair deformation is modulated by protein kinase C, monomeric G proteins of the Rho superfamily and the location and amount of phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphates (PI3Ps). This hypothesis is supported by the following observations. The protein kinase C activators, 12-deoxyphorbol 13-acetate (DPA) and diacylglycerol kinase inhibitor 1, stimulated root hair deformation to a level similar to that seen with Nod factors or mastoparan, whereas the inhibitor Gö 6976 inhibited root hair deformations induced by NodNGR[S], mastoparan, DPA and diacylglycerol kinase inhibitor 1. The Ras antagonists mevastatin and sulindac sulphide, and the Rho antagonist exoenzyme C3 toxin from Clostridium botulinum all inhibited Nod factor stimulated root hair deformation. Pasteurella multocida toxin activates Rho and stimulated root hair deformation, this stimulation was inhibited by both neomycin and exoenzyme C3 toxin. The PI3 kinase inhibitors, wortmannin and LY-294002 attenuated Nod factor induced root hair deformation. These studies were complemented with actin immunoprecipitations of root hair enriched microsomal membrane preparations from V. unguiculata which pulled down small GTP binding proteins. Root hair deformation is an important early stage in the formation of nitrogen fixing nodules and this study highlights that these processes may depend on signalling cascades involving phospholipids and small GTP binding proteins.