Department of Plant Molecular Biology, University of Lausanne, Biophore Building, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
Work on the interaction of aerial plant parts with pathogens has identified the signaling molecules jasmonic acid (JA) and salicylic acid (SA) as important players in induced defense of the plant against invading organisms. Much less is known about the role of JA and SA signaling in root infection. Recent progress has been made in research on plant interactions with biotrophic mutualists and parasites that exclusively associate with roots, namely arbuscular mycorrhizal and rhizobial symbioses on one hand and nematode and parasitic plant interactions on the other hand. Here, we review these recent advances relating JA and SA signaling to specific stages of root colonization and discuss how both signaling molecules contribute to a balance between compatibility and defense in mutualistic as well as parasitic biotroph-root interactions.