Plant Science


Protocols in Current Issue
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0 Q&A 719 Views Jun 5, 2024

Gene editing technologies have revolutionized plant molecular biology, providing powerful tools for precise gene manipulation for understanding function and enhancing or modifying agronomically relevant traits. Among these technologies, the CRISPR-Cas9 system has emerged as a versatile and widely accepted strategy for targeted gene manipulation. This protocol provides detailed, step-by-step instructions for implementing CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing in tomato plants, with a specific focus in generating knockout lines for a target gene. For that, the guide RNA should preferentially be designed within the first exon downstream and closer to the start codon. The edited plants obtained are free of transgene cassette for expression of the CRISPR-Cas9 machinery.

0 Q&A 645 Views Apr 5, 2024

Camelina sativa, a Brassicaceae family crop, is used for fodder, human food, and biofuels. Its relatively high resistance to abiotic and biotic stresses, as well as being a climate-resilient oilseed crop, has contributed to its popularity. Camelina's seed yield and oil contents have been improved using various technologies like RNAi and CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing. A stable transformation system for protein localization and other cell autonomous investigations, on the other hand, is tedious and time consuming. This study describes a transient gene expression protocol for Camelina sativa cultivar DH55 leaves using Agrobacterium strain C58C1. The method is suitable for subcellular protein localization and colocalization studies and can be used with both constitutive and chemically induced genes. We report the subcellular localization of the N-terminal ER membrane signal anchor region (1–32 aa) of the At3G28580 gene-encoded protein from Arabidopsis in intact leaves and the expression and localization of other known organelle markers. This method offers a fast and convenient way to study proteins in the commercially important Camelina crop system.

Key features

• This method is based on the approach of Zhang et al. [1] and has been optimized for bioenergy crop Camelina species.

• A constitutive and inducible transient gene expression in the hexaploid species Camelina sativa cultivar DH55.

• Requires only 16–18 days to complete with high efficacy.

Graphical overview

Agrobacterium-mediated transient gene expression optimized for Camelina sativa

0 Q&A 380 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 489 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.

0 Q&A 624 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.

1 Q&A 839 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 383 Views Aug 5, 2023

The study of genes and their products is an essential prerequisite for fundamental research. Characterization can be achieved by analyzing mutants or overexpression lines or by studying the localization and substrate specificities of the resulting proteins. However, functional analysis of specific proteins in complex eukaryotic organisms can be challenging. To overcome this, the use of heterologous systems to express genes and analyze the resulting proteins can save time and effort. Yeast is a preferred heterologous model organism: it is easy to transform, and tools for genomics, engineering, and metabolomics are already available. Here, we describe a well-established and simple method to analyze the activity of plant monosaccharide transporters in the baker’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, using a simple growth complementation assay. We used the famous hexose-transport-deficient yeast strain EBY.VW4000 to express candidate plant monosaccharide transporters and analyzed their transport activity. This assay does not require any radioactive labeling of substrates and can be easily extended for quantitative analysis using growth curves or by analyzing the transport rates of fluorescent substrates like the glucose analog 2-NBDG. Finally, to further simplify the cloning of potential candidate transporters, we provide level 0 modular cloning (MoClo) modules for efficient and simple Golden Gate cloning. This approach provides a convenient tool for the functional analysis of plant monosaccharide transporters in yeast.

Key features

• Comprehensive, simple protocol for analysis of plant monosaccharide transporters in yeast

• Includes optional MoClo parts for cloning with Golden Gate method

• Includes protocol for the production and transformation of competent yeast cells

Does not require hazardous solutions, radiolabeled substrates, or specialized equipment

0 Q&A 471 Views Jul 20, 2023

Virus-mediated transient gene overexpression and gene expression silencing can be used to screen gene functions in plants. Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV) is a positive strand RNA virus in the Potyviridae family that has been modified to be used as vector to infect monocots, including maize (Zea mays), for transient gene overexpression and gene expression silencing. Relative to stable transformation, SCMV-mediated transient expression in maize has the advantages of being faster and less expensive. Here, we describe a protocol for cloning constructs into the plasmid vector pSCMV-CS3. After maize seedlings are transformed with pSCMV-CS3 constructs by particle bombardment, the virus replicates and spreads systemically in the plants. Subsequent infections of maize seedlings can be accomplished by rub inoculation with sap from SCMV-infested plants. As an example of a practical application of the method, we also describe virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) of fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) gene expression. Transgenic viruses are created by cloning a segment of the fall armyworm target gene into pSCMV-CS3 prior to maize transformation. Caterpillars are fed on the virus-infected maize plants, which make dsRNA to silence the expression of the fall armyworm target gene after ingestion. This use of SCMV for plant-mediated VIGS in insects allows rapid screening of gene functions when caterpillars are feeding on their host plants.

Graphical overview

1 Q&A 444 Views Jul 5, 2023

Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a model organism for various processes, from photosynthesis to cilia biogenesis, and a great chassis to learn more about biofuel production. This is due to the width of molecular tools available, which have recently expanded with the development of a modular cloning system but, most importantly, with CRISPR/Cas9 editing now being possible. This technique has proven to be more efficient in the absence of a cell wall by using specific mutants or by digesting Chlamydomonas cell wall using the mating-specific metalloprotease autolysin (also called gametolysin). Multiple protocols have been used and shared for autolysin production from Chlamydomonas cells; however, they provide very inconsistent results, which hinders the capacity to routinely perform CRISPR mutagenesis. Here, we propose a simple protocol for autolysin production requiring transfer of cells from plates into a dense liquid suspension, gametogenesis by overnight incubation before mixing of gametes, and enzyme harvesting after 2 h. This protocol has shown to be highly efficient for autolysin production regardless of precise control over cell density at any step. Requiring a minimal amount of labor, it will provide a simple, ready-to-go approach to produce an enzyme critical for the generation of targeted mutants.

Graphical overview

Workflow for autolysin production from Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

0 Q&A 369 Views Jun 20, 2023

Mandelonitrile is a nitrogen-containing compound, considered an essential secondary metabolite. Chemically, it is a cyanohydrin derivative of benzaldehyde, with relevant functions in different physiological processes including defense against phytophagous arthropods. So far, procedures for detecting mandelonitrile have been effectively applied in cyanogenic plant species such as Prunus spp. Nevertheless, its presence in Arabidopsis thaliana, considered a non-cyanogenic species, has never been determined. Here, we report the development of an accurate protocol for mandelonitrile quantification in A. thaliana within the context of A. thaliana–spider mite interaction. First, mandelonitrile was isolated from Arabidopsis rosettes using methanol; then, it was derivatized by silylation to enhance detection and, finally, it was quantified using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. The selectivity and sensitivity of this method make it possible to detect low levels of mandelonitrile (LOD 3 ppm) in a plant species considered non-cyanogenic that, therefore, will have little to no cyanogenic compounds, using a small quantity of starting material (≥100 mg).

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