Document Type


Publication Date



© 2016 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2016 New Phytologist Trust. Plant–microbe mutualisms can improve plant defense, but the impact of root endophytes on below-ground herbivore interactions remains unknown. We investigated the effects of the root endophyte Piriformospora indica on interactions between rice (Oryza sativa) plants and its root herbivore rice water weevil (RWW; Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus), and how plant jasmonic acid (JA) and GA regulate this tripartite interaction. Glasshouse experiments with wild-type rice and coi1-18 and Eui1-OX mutants combined with nutrient, jasmonate and gene expression analyses were used to test: whether RWW adult herbivory above ground influences subsequent damage caused by larval herbivory below ground; whether P. indica protects plants against RWW; and whether GA and JA signaling mediate these interactions. The endophyte induced plant tolerance to root herbivory. RWW adults and larvae acted synergistically via JA signaling to reduce root growth, while endophyte-elicited GA biosynthesis suppressed the herbivore-induced JA in roots and recovered plant growth. Our study shows for the first time the impact of a root endophyte on plant defense against below-ground herbivores, adds to growing evidence that induced tolerance may be an important root defense, and implicates GA as a signal component of inducible plant tolerance against biotic stress.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

New Phytologist

First Page


Last Page