The mutualistic basidiomycete Piriformospora indica colonizes roots of mono- and dicotyledonous plants, and thereby improves plant health and yield. Given the capability of P. indica to colonize a broad range of hosts, it must be anticipated that the fungus has evolved efficient strategies to overcome plant immunity and to establish a proper environment for nutrient acquisition and reproduction. Global gene expression studies in barley identified various ethylene synthesis and signaling components that were differentially regulated in P. indica-colonized roots. Based on these findings we examined the impact of ethylene in the symbiotic association. The data presented here suggest that P. indica induces ethylene synthesis in barley and Arabidopsis roots during colonization. Moreover, impaired ethylene signaling resulted in reduced root colonization, Arabidopsis mutants exhibiting constitutive ethylene signaling, -synthesis or ethylene-related defense were hyper-susceptible to P. indica. Our data suggest that ethylene signaling is required for symbiotic root colonization by P. indica.