A DELLA protein complex controls the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis in plants.

Plants establish beneficial symbiotic associations with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, which colonize the root cortex, building specialized structures called arbuscules that facilitate nutrient exchange. The association occurs following plant recognition of lipochitooligosaccharides (LCOs) from mycorrhizal fungi, which activates the symbiosis signaling pathway prior to mycorrhizal colonization. Here we show that SLR1/DELLA, a repressor of gibberellic acid (GA) signaling, and its interacting partner protein are required for the mycorrhizal symbiosis. GA treatment inhibits mycorrhizal colonization and leads to the degradation of DELLAs. Consistently, rice lines mutated in DELLA are unable to be colonized by mycorrhizal fungi. DELLAs are members of the GRAS family of transcription factors. We further show that rice DELLA interacts with a second GRAS protein, DIP1 (DELLA Interacting Protein 1). DIP1 is also required for mycorrhizal colonization and in turn interacts with a previously characterized mycorrhizal GRAS protein, RAM1, that has been shown to directly regulate mycorrhizal-associated gene expression. We conclude that a complex of GRAS proteins, including DELLAs, is necessary for regulation of mycorrhizal-associated gene expression and thus colonization