Piriformospora indica-induced phytohormone changes and root colonization strategies are highly host-specific

Piriformospora indica, an endophytic fungus of Sebacinales, has a wide host range and promotes the performance of mono- and eudicot plants. Here, we compare the interaction of P. indica with the roots of seven host plants (Anthurium andraeanum, Arabidopsis thaliana, Brassica campestris, Lycopersicon esculentum, Oncidium orchid, Oryza sativa, and Zea mays). Microscopical analyses showed that the colonization time and the mode of hyphal invasion into the roots differ in the symbiotic interactions. Substantial differences between the species were also observed for the levels and accumulation of jasmonate (JA) and gibberellin (GA) and the transcript levels for genes involved in their syntheses. No obvious correlation could be detected between the endogenous JA and/or GA levels and the time point of root colonization in a given plant species. Our results suggest that root colonization strategies and changes in the two phytohormone levels are highly host-specific.