Plant hormones in arbuscular mycorrhizal symbioses: an emerging role for gibberellins

Ann Bot. 2013 May;111(5):769-79. doi: 10.1093/aob/mct041. Epub 2013 Mar 18.


Background and aims: Arbuscular mycorrhizal symbioses are important for nutrient acquisition in >80 % of terrestrial plants. Recently there have been major breakthroughs in understanding the signals that regulate colonization by the fungus, but the roles of the known plant hormones are still emerging. Here our understanding of the roles of abscisic acid, ethylene, auxin, strigolactones, salicylic acid and jasmonic acid is discussed, and the roles of gibberellins and brassinosteroids examined.

Methods: Pea mutants deficient in gibberellins, DELLA proteins and brassinosteroids are used to determine whether fungal colonization is altered by the level of these hormones or signalling compounds. Expression of genes activated during mycorrhizal colonization is also monitored.

Key results: Arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization of pea roots is substantially increased in gibberellin-deficient na-1 mutants compared with wild-type plants. This is reversed by application of GA3. Mutant la cry-s, which lacks gibberellin signalling DELLA proteins, shows reduced colonization. These changes were parallelled by changes in the expression of genes associated with mycorrhizal colonization. The brassinosteroid-deficient lkb mutant showed no change in colonization.

Conclusions: Biologically active gibberellins suppress arbuscule formation in pea roots, and DELLA proteins are essential for this response, indicating that this role occurs within the root cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Western
  • Brassinosteroids / pharmacology
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / drug effects
  • Gibberellins / pharmacology*
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Mycorrhizae / drug effects
  • Mycorrhizae / growth & development
  • Peas / drug effects*
  • Peas / genetics
  • Peas / microbiology*
  • Plant Growth Regulators / pharmacology*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Symbiosis / drug effects*
  • Symbiosis / genetics


  • Brassinosteroids
  • Gibberellins
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Plant Proteins