Plant Science


Protocols in Current Issue
0 Q&A 256 Views Sep 20, 2023

Here, we present an approach combining fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and immunolabeling for localization of pri-miRNAs in isolated nuclei of A. thaliana. The presented method utilizes specific DNA oligonucleotide probes, modified by addition of digoxigenin-labeled deoxynucleotides to its 3′ hydroxyl terminus by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT). The probes are then detected by immunolabeling of digoxigenin (DIG) using specific fluorescent-labeled antibodies to visualize hybridized probes. Recently, we have applied this method to localize pri-miRNA156a, pri-miRNA163, pri-miRNA393a, and pri-miRNA414 in the nuclei isolated from leaves of 4-week-old A. thaliana. The present approach can be easily implemented to analyze nuclear distribution of diverse RNA classes, including mRNAs and pri-miRNAs in isolated fixed cells or nuclei from plant.

Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 265 Views Sep 5, 2023

Studies on chromosomal status are a fundamental aspect of plant cytogenetics and breeding because changes in number, size, and shape of chromosomes determine plant physiology/performance. Despite its significance, the classical cytogenetic study is now frequently avoided because of its tedious job. In general, root meristems are used to study the mitotic chromosome number, even though the use of root tips was restricted because of sample availability, processing, and lack of standard protocols. Moreover, to date, a protocol using shoot tips to estimate chromosome number has not yet been achieved for tree species’ germplasm with a large number of accessions, like mulberry (Morus spp.). Here, we provide a step-by-step, economically feasible protocol for the pretreatment, fixation, enzymatic treatment, staining, and squashing of meristematic shoot tips. The protocol is validated with worldwide collections of 200 core set accessions with a higher level of ploidy variation, namely diploid (2n = 2x = 28), triploid (2n = 3x = 42), tetraploid (2n = 4x = 56), hexaploid (2n = 6x = 84), and decosaploid (2n = 22x = 308) belonging to nine species of Morus spp. Furthermore, accession from each ploidy group was subjected to flow cytometry (FCM) analysis for confirmation. The present protocol will help to optimize metaphase plate preparation and estimation of chromosome number using meristematic shoot tips of tree species regardless of their sex, location, and/or resources.

0 Q&A 722 Views Sep 5, 2023

Expansion microscopy is an innovative method that enables super-resolution imaging of biological materials using a simple confocal microscope. The principle of this method relies on the physical isotropic expansion of a biological specimen cross-linked to a swellable polymer, stained with antibodies, and imaged. Since its first development, several improved versions of expansion microscopy and adaptations for different types of samples have been produced. Here, we show the application of ultrastructure expansion microscopy (U-ExM) to investigate the 3D organization of the green algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii cellular ultrastructure, with a particular emphasis on the different types of sample fixation that can be used, as well as compatible staining procedures including membranes.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 175 Views Sep 5, 2023

The flux in photosynthesis can be studied by performing 13CO2 pulse labelling and analysing the temporal labelling kinetics of metabolic intermediates using gas or liquid chromatography linked to mass spectrometry. Metabolic flux analysis (MFA) is the primary approach for analysing metabolic network function and quantifying intracellular metabolic fluxes. Different MFA approaches differ based on the metabolic state (steady vs. non-steady state) and the use of stable isotope tracers. The main methodology used to investigate metabolic systems is metabolite steady state associated with stable isotope labelling experiments. Specifically, in biological systems like photoautotrophic organisms, isotopic non-stationary 13C metabolic flux analysis at metabolic steady state with transient isotopic labelling (13C-INST-MFA) is required. The common requirement for metabolic steady state, alongside its very short half-timed reactions, complicates robust MFA of photosynthetic metabolism. While custom gas chambers design has addressed these challenges in various model plants, no similar tools were developed for liquid photosynthetic cultures (e.g., algae, cyanobacteria), where diffusion and equilibration of inorganic carbon species in the medium entails a new dimension of complexity. Recently, a novel tailor-made microfluidics labelling system has been introduced, supplying short 13CO2 pulses at steady state, and resolving fluxes across most photosynthetic metabolic pathways in algae. The system involves injecting algal cultures and medium containing pre-equilibrated inorganic 13C into a microfluidic mixer, followed by rapid metabolic quenching, enabling precise seconds-level label pulses. This was complemented by a 13CO2-bubbling-based open labelling system (photobioreactor), allowing long pulses (minutes–hours) required for investigating fluxes into central C metabolism and major products. This combined labelling procedure provides a comprehensive fluxome cover for most algal photosynthetic and central C metabolism pathways, thus allowing comparative flux analyses across algae and plants.

0 Q&A 182 Views Sep 5, 2023

Since the genetic transformation of Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa) has not been well developed, in situ RT-PCR is a valuable option for detecting guard cell–specific genes. We reported an optimized protocol of in situ RT-PCR by using a FAMA homologous gene Bra001929 in Brassica rapa. FAMA in Arabidopsis has been verified to be especially expressed in guard cells. We designed specific RT-PCR primers and optimized the protocol in terms of the (a) reverse transcription time, (b) blocking time, (c) antigen-antibody incubation time, and (d) washing temperature. Our approach provides a sensitive and effective in situ RT-PCR method that can detect low-abundance transcripts in cells by elevating their levels by RT-PCR in the guard cells in Brassica rapa.

0 Q&A 509 Views Sep 5, 2023

Biomolecular condensates are membrane-less assemblies of proteins and nucleic acids formed through liquid–liquid phase separation (LLPS). These assemblies are known to temporally and spatially regulate numerous biological activities and cellular processes in plants and animals. In vitro phase separation assay using recombinant proteins represents one of the standard ways to examine the properties of proteins undergoing LLPS. Here, we present a detailed protocol to investigate in vitro LLPS using in vitro expressed and purified recombinant proteins.

0 Q&A 156 Views Aug 20, 2023

Genome sizes of Zygnema spp. vary greatly, being unknown whether polyploidization occurred. The exact number of chromosomes in this genus is unknown since counting methods established for higher plants cannot be applied to green algae. The massive presence of pectins and arabinogalactan proteins in the cell wall interferes with the uptake of staining solutions; moreover, cell divisions in green algae are not restricted to meristems as in higher plants, which is another limiting factor. Cell divisions occur randomly in the thallus, due to the intercalary growth of algal filaments. Therefore, we increased the number of cell divisions via synchronization by changing the light cycle (10:14 h light/dark). The number of observed mitotic stages peaked at the beginning of the dark cycle. This protocol describes two methods for the visualization of chromosomes in the filamentous green alga Zygnema. Existing protocols were modified, leading to improved acetocarmine and haematoxylin staining methods as investigated by light microscopy. A freeze-shattering approach with liquid nitrogen was applied to increase the accessibility of the haematoxylin dye. These modified protocols allowed reliable chromosome counting in the genus Zygnema.

Key features

• Improved method for chromosome staining in filamentous green algae.

• Optimized for the Zygnema strains SAG 698-1a (Z. cylindricum), SAG 698-1b (Z. circumcarinatum), and SAG 2419 (Zygnema ‘Saalach’).

• This protocol builds upon the methods of chromosomal staining in green algae developed by Wittmann (1965), Staker (1971), and Fujii and Guerra (1998).

• Cultivation and synchronization: 14 days; fixation and permeabilization: 24 h; staining: 1 h; image analysis and chromosome number quantification: up to 20 h.

0 Q&A 181 Views Aug 20, 2023

Chloroplast NADP-dependent malate dehydrogenase (NADP-MDH) is a redox regulated enzyme playing an important role in plant redox homeostasis. Leaf NADP-MDH activation level is considered a proxy for the chloroplast redox status. NADP-MDH enzyme activity is commonly assayed spectrophotometrically by following oxaloacetate-dependent NADPH oxidation at 340 nm. We have developed a plate-adapted protocol to monitor NADP-MDH activity allowing faster data production and lower reagent consumption compared to the classic cuvette format of a spectrophotometer. We provide a detailed procedure to assay NADP-MDH activity and measure the enzyme activation state in purified protein preparations or in leaf extracts. This protocol is provided together with a semi-automatized data analysis procedure using an R script.

0 Q&A 430 Views Aug 20, 2023

Yield losses attributed to plant pathogens pose a serious threat to plant productivity and food security. Botrytis cinerea is one of the most devastating plant pathogens, infecting a wide array of plant species; it has also been established as a model organism to study plant–pathogen interactions. In this context, development of different assays to follow the relative success of B. cinerea infections is required. Here, we describe two methods to quantify B. cinerea development in Arabidopsis thaliana genotypes through measurements of lesion development and quantification of fungal genomic DNA in infected tissues. This provides two independent techniques that are useful in assessing the susceptibility or tolerance of different Arabidopsis genotypes to B. cinerea.

Key features

• Protocol for the propagation of the necrotrophic plant pathogen fungus Botrytis cinerea and spore production.

• Two methods of Arabidopsis thaliana infection with the pathogen using droplet and spray inoculation.

• Two readouts, either by measuring lesion size or by the quantification of fungal DNA using quantitative PCR.

• The two methods are applicable across plant species susceptible the B. cinerea.

Graphical overview

A simplified overview of the droplet and spray infection methods used for the determination of B. cinerea growth in different Arabidopsis genotypes

0 Q&A 404 Views Aug 20, 2023

Nitrate (NO3) is an essential element and nutrient for plants and animals. Despite extensive studies on the regulation of nitrate uptake and downstream responses in various cells, our knowledge of the distribution of nitrogen forms in different root cell types and their cellular compartments is still limited. Previous physiological models have relied on in vitro biochemistry and metabolite level analysis, which limits the ability to differentiate between cell types and compartments. Here, to address this, we report a nuclear-localized, genetically encoded fluorescent biosensor, which we named nlsNitraMeter3.0, for the quantitative visualization of nitrate concentration and distribution at the cellular level in Arabidopsis thaliana. This biosensor was specifically designed for nitrate measurements, not nitrite. Through genetic engineering to create and select sensors using yeast, Xenopus oocyte, and Arabidopsis expression systems, we developed a reversible and highly specific nitrate sensor. This method, combined with fluorescence imaging systems such as confocal microscopy, allows for the understanding and monitoring of nitrate transporter activity in plant root cells in a minimally invasive manner. Furthermore, this approach enables the functional analysis of nitrate transporters and the measurement of nitrate distribution in plants, providing a valuable tool for plant biology research. In summary, we provide a protocol for sensor development and a biosensor that can be used to monitor nitrate levels in plants.

Key features

• This protocol builds upon the concept of FRET biosensors for in vivo visualization of spatiotemporal nitrate levels at a cellular resolution.

• Nitrate levels can be quantified utilizing the biosensor in conjunction with either a plate reader or a fluorescence microscope.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 212 Views Aug 20, 2023

Pectin is a complex polysaccharide present in the plant cell wall, whose composition is constantly remodelled to adapt to environmental or developmental changes. Mutants with altered pectin composition have been reported to exhibit altered stress or pathogen resistance. Understanding the link between mutant phenotypes and their pectin composition requires robust analytical methods to detect changes in the relative monosaccharide composition. Here, we describe a quick and efficient gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS)-based method that allows the differential analysis of pectin monosaccharide composition in plants under different conditions or between mutant plants and their respective wild types. Pectin is extracted from seed mucilage or from the alcohol-insoluble residue prepared from leaves or other organs and is subsequently hydrolysed with trifluoracetic acid. The resulting acidic and neutral monosaccharides are then derivatised and measured simultaneously by GC–MS.

Key features

• Comparative analysis of monosaccharide content in Arabidopsis-derived pectin between different genotypes or different treatments.

• Procedures for two sources of pectin are shown: seed coat mucilage and alcohol-insoluble residue.

• Allows quick analyses of neutral and acidic monosaccharides simultaneously.

Graphical overview

We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. By using our website, you are agreeing to allow the storage of cookies on your computer.