Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbioses are known to play a role in increased resistance of plants against soilborne pathogens. Mechanisms involved in this phenomenon are not yet well understood. This work investigates possible roles of endoproteolytic activities in bioprotection of Pisum sativum roots by Glomus mosseae against Aphanomyces euteiches. First, it is demonstrated that bioprotection occurs only in pre-mycorrhizal plants. Second, endoproteolytic activities were analysed qualitatively and quantitatively during AM symbiosis, in plants infected with either zoospores or mycelium of A. euteiches, and in mycorrhizal plants infected with the pathogen. In mycorrhizal symbiosis a progressive increase in endoproteolytic activities was observed following root colonization by G. mosseae. By contrast, in roots inoculated with A. euteiches, a drastic increase in endoproteolytic activities was observed which was correlated with the amount of pathogen occurring in roots. Qualitative differences were seen among the endoproteolytic activities detected in roots inoculated with zoospores or mycelium. The constitutive as well as mycorrhizal and pathogen-induced activities were further characterized as 'trypsin-like' serine endoproteases. Interestingly, in a situation of bioprotection, only low levels of the activities normally associated with the infection by A. euteiches were detected, suggesting that the synthesis of these proteins is directly linked to the growth or virulence of the pathogen.