Glomalean fungi induce and colonize symbiotic tissue called arbuscular mycorrhiza on the roots of most land plants. Other fungi also colonize plants but cause disease not symbiosis. Whole-transcriptome analysis using a custom-designed Affymetrix Gene-Chip and confirmation with real-time RT-PCR revealed 224 genes affected during arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis. We compared these transcription profiles with those from rice roots that were colonized by pathogens (Magnaporthe grisea and Fusarium moniliforme). Over 40% of genes showed differential regulation caused by both the symbiotic and at least one of the pathogenic interactions. A set of genes was similarly expressed in all three associations, revealing a conserved response to fungal colonization. The responses that were shared between pathogen and symbiont infection may play a role in compatibility. Likewise, the responses that are different may cause disease. Some of the genes that respond to mycorrhizal colonization may be involved in the uptake of phosphate. Indeed, phosphate addition mimicked the effect of mycorrhiza on 8% of the tested genes. We found that 34% of the mycorrhiza-associated rice genes were also associated with mycorrhiza in dicots, revealing a conserved pattern of response between the two angiosperm classes.