The arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis represents the most widely distributed mutualistic root symbiosis. We report that root extracts of mycorrhizal plants contain a lipophilic signal capable of inducing the phosphate transporter genes StPT3 and StPT4 of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.), genes that are specifically induced in roots colonized by AM fungi. The same signal caused rapid extracellular alkalinization in suspension-cultured tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) cells and induction of the mycorrhiza-specific phosphate transporter gene LePT4 in these cells. The active principle was characterized as the lysolipid lyso-phosphatidylcholine (LPC) via a combination of gene expression studies, alkalinization assays in cell cultures, and chromatographic and mass spectrometric analyses. Our results highlight the importance of lysophospholipids as signals in plants and in particular in the AM symbiosis.