Plant Science


Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 317 Views Apr 5, 2024

Citrus fruits encompass a diverse family, including oranges, mandarins, grapefruits, limes, kumquats, lemons, and others. In citrus, Agrobacterium tumefaciens–mediated genetic transformation of Hongkong kumquat (Fortunella hindsii Swingle) has been widely employed for gene function analysis. However, the perennial nature of woody plants results in the generation of transgenic fruits taking several years. Here, we show the procedures of Agrobacterium-mediated transient transformation and live-cell imaging in kumquat (F. crassifolia Swingle) fruit, using the actin filament marker GFP-Lifeact as an example. Fluorescence detection, western blot analysis, and live-cell imaging with confocal microscopy demonstrate the high transformation efficiency and an extended expression window of this system. Overall, Agrobacterium-mediated transient transformation of kumquat fruits provides a rapid and effective method for studying gene function in fruit, enabling the effective observation of diverse cellular processes in fruit biology.

0 Q&A 584 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 1577 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 369 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 291 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 472 Views Jul 20, 2023

In vivo microscopy of plants with high-frequency imaging allows observation and characterization of the dynamic responses of plants to stimuli. It provides access to responses that could not be observed by imaging at a given time point. Such methods are particularly suitable for the observation of fast cellular events such as membrane potential changes. Classical measurement of membrane potential by probe impaling gives quantitative and precise measurements. However, it is invasive, requires specialized equipment, and only allows measurement of one cell at a time. To circumvent some of these limitations, we developed a method to relatively quantify membrane potential variations in Arabidopsis thaliana roots using the fluorescence of the voltage reporter DISBAC2(3). In this protocol, we describe how to prepare experiments for agar media and microfluidics, and we detail the image analysis. We take an example of the rapid plasma membrane depolarization induced by the phytohormone auxin to illustrate the method. Relative membrane potential measurements using DISBAC2(3) fluorescence increase the spatio-temporal resolution of the measurements and are non-invasive and suitable for live imaging of growing roots. Studying membrane potential with a more flexible method allows to efficiently combine mature electrophysiology literature and new molecular knowledge to achieve a better understanding of plant behaviors.

Key features

• Non-invasive method to relatively quantify membrane potential in plant roots.

• Method suitable for imaging seedlings root in agar or liquid medium.

• Straightforward quantification.

0 Q&A 715 Views Apr 20, 2023

Plant protoplasts are useful to study both transcriptional regulation and protein subcellular localization in rapid screens. Protoplast transformation can be used in automated platforms for design-build-test cycles of plant promoters, including synthetic promoters. A notable application of protoplasts comes from recent successes in dissecting synthetic promoter activity with poplar mesophyll protoplasts. For this purpose, we constructed plasmids with TurboGFP driven by a synthetic promoter together with TurboRFP constitutively controlled by a 35S promoter, to monitor transformation efficiency, allowing versatile screening of high numbers of cells by monitoring green fluorescent protein expression in transformed protoplasts. Herein, we introduce a protocol for poplar mesophyll protoplast isolation followed by protoplast transformation and image analysis for the selection of valuable synthetic promoters.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 506 Views Mar 5, 2023

The vacuole is one of the most conspicuous organelles in plant cells, participating in a series of physiological processes, such as storage of ions and compartmentalization of heavy metals. Isolation of intact vacuoles and elemental analysis provides a powerful method to investigate the functions and regulatory mechanisms of tonoplast transporters. Here, we present a protocol to isolate intact vacuoles from Arabidopsis root protoplasts and analyze their elemental content by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). In this protocol, we summarize how to prepare the protoplast, extract the vacuole, and analyze element concentration. This protocol has been applied to explore the function and regulatory mechanisms of tonoplast manganese (Mn) transporter MTP8, which is antagonistically regulated by CPK4/5/6/11 and CBL2/3-CIPK3/9/26. This protocol is not only suitable for exploring the functions and regulatory mechanisms of tonoplast transporters, but also for researching other tonoplast proteins.

Graphical abstract

0 Q&A 474 Views Feb 20, 2023

Chloroplast movement has been observed and analyzed since the 19th century. Subsequently, the phenomenon is widely observed in various plant species such as fern, moss, Marchantia polymorpha, and Arabidopsis. However, chloroplast movement in rice is less investigated, presumably due to the thick wax layer on its leaf surface, which reduces light sensitivity to the point that it was previously believed that there was no light-induced movement in rice. In this study, we present a convenient protocol suitable for observing chloroplast movement in rice only by optical microscopy without using special equipment. It will allow researchers to explore other signaling components involved in chloroplast movement in rice.

0 Q&A 637 Views Dec 20, 2022

MicroRNAs (miRNA) are small (21–24 nt) non-coding RNAs involved in many biological processes in both plants and animals. The biogenesis of plant miRNAs starts with the transcription of MIRNA (MIR) genes by RNA polymerase II; then, the primary miRNA transcripts are cleaved by Dicer-like proteins into mature miRNAs, which are then loaded into Argonaute (AGO) proteins to form the effector complex, the miRNA-induced silencing complex (miRISC). In Arabidopsis , some MIR genes are expressed in a tissue-specific manner; however, the spatial patterns of MIR gene expression may not be the same as the spatial distribution of miRISCs due to the non-cell autonomous nature of some miRNAs, making it challenging to characterize the spatial profiles of miRNAs. A previous study utilized protoplasting of green fluorescent protein (GFP) marker transgenic lines followed by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) to isolate cell-type-specific small RNAs. However, the invasiveness of this approach during the protoplasting and cell sorting may stimulate the expression of stress-related miRNAs. To non-invasively profile cell-type-specific miRNAs, we generated transgenic lines in which root cell layer-specific promoters drive the expression of AGO1 and performed immunoprecipitation to non-invasively isolate cell-layer-specific miRISCs. In this protocol, we provide a detailed description of immunoprecipitation of root cell layer-specific GFP-AGO1 using EN7::GFP-AGO1 and ACL5::GFP-AGO1 transgenic plants, followed by small RNA sequencing to profile single-cell-type-specific miRNAs. This protocol is also suitable to profile cell-type-specific miRISCs in other tissues or organs in plants, such as flowers or leaves.

Graphical abstract

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