Correlations between lignin content and structural robustness in plants revealed by X-ray ptychography.
ABSTRACT: Lignin is a heterogeneous aromatic polymer responsible for cell wall stiffness and protection from pathogen attack. However, lignin represents a bottleneck to biomass degradation due to its recalcitrance related to the natural cell wall resistance to release sugars for fermentation or further processing. A biological approach involving genetics and molecular biology was used to disrupt lignin pathway synthesis and decrease lignin deposition. Here, we imaged three-dimensional fragments of the petioles of wild type and C4H lignin mutant Arabidopsis thaliana plants by synchrotron cryo-ptychography. The three-dimensional images revealed the heterogeneity of vessels, parenchyma, and fibre cell wall morphologies, highlighting the relation between disturbed lignin deposition and vessel implosion (cell collapsing and obstruction of water flow). We introduce a new parameter to accurately define cell implosion conditions in plants, and we demonstrate how cryo-ptychographic X-ray computed tomography (cryo-PXCT) provides new insights for plant imaging in three dimensions to understand physiological processes.
Project description:Characterizing the chemistry and magnetism of magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) is an important aspect of understanding the biomineralization mechanism and function of the chains of magnetosomes (Fe3O4 nanoparticles) found in such species. Images and X-ray absorption spectra (XAS) of magnetosomes extracted from, and magnetosomes in, whole Magnetovibrio blakemorei strain MV-1 cells have been recorded using soft X-ray ptychography at the Fe 2p edge. A spatial resolution of 7 nm is demonstrated. Precursor-like and immature magnetosome phases in a whole MV-1 cell were visualized, and their Fe 2p spectra were measured. Based on these results, a model for the pathway of magnetosome biomineralization for MV-1 is proposed. Fe 2p X-ray magnetic circular dichroism (XMCD) spectra have been derived from ptychography image sequences recorded using left and right circular polarization. The shape of the XAS and XMCD signals in the ptychographic absorption spectra of both sample types is identical to the shape and signals measured with conventional bright-field scanning transmission X-ray microscope. A weaker and inverted XMCD signal was observed in the ptychographic phase spectra of the extracted magnetosomes. The XMCD ptychographic phase spectrum of the intracellular magnetosomes differed from the ptychographic phase spectrum of the extracted magnetosomes. These results demonstrate that spectro-ptychography offers a superior means of characterizing the chemical and magnetic properties of MTB at the individual magnetosome level.
Project description:X-ray ptychography is a rapidly developing coherent diffraction imaging technique that provides nanoscale resolution on extended field-of-view. However, the requirement of coherence and the scanning mechanism limit the throughput of ptychographic imaging. In this paper, we propose X-ray ptychography using multiple illuminations instead of single illumination in conventional ptychography. Multiple locations of the sample are simultaneously imaged by spatially separated X-ray beams, therefore, the obtained field-of-view in one scan can be enlarged by a factor equal to the number of illuminations. We have demonstrated this technique experimentally using two X-ray beams focused by a house-made Fresnel zone plate array. Two areas of the object and corresponding double illuminations were successfully reconstructed from diffraction patterns acquired in one scan, with image quality similar with those obtained by conventional single-beam ptychography in sequence. Multi-beam ptychography approach increases the imaging speed, providing an efficient way for high-resolution imaging of large extended specimens.
Project description:Ptychography is a powerful computational imaging technique that transforms a collection of low-resolution images into a high-resolution sample reconstruction. Unfortunately, algorithms that currently solve this reconstruction problem lack stability, robustness, and theoretical guarantees. Recently, convex optimization algorithms have improved the accuracy and reliability of several related reconstruction efforts. This paper proposes a convex formulation of the ptychography problem. This formulation has no local minima, it can be solved using a wide range of algorithms, it can incorporate appropriate noise models, and it can include multiple a priori constraints. The paper considers a specific algorithm, based on low-rank factorization, whose runtime and memory usage are near-linear in the size of the output image. Experiments demonstrate that this approach offers a 25% lower background variance on average than alternating projections, the ptychographic reconstruction algorithm that is currently in widespread use.
Project description:Electron ptychography has recently attracted considerable interest for high resolution phase-sensitive imaging. However, to date studies have been mainly limited to radiation resistant samples as the electron dose required to record a ptychographic dataset is too high for use with beam-sensitive materials. Here we report defocused electron ptychography using a fast, direct-counting detector to reconstruct the transmission function, which is in turn related to the electrostatic potential of a two-dimensional material at atomic resolution under various low dose conditions.
Project description:This paper presents a technique to image the complex index of refraction of a sample across three dimensions. The only required hardware is a standard microscope and an array of LEDs. The method, termed Fourier ptychographic tomography (FPT), first captures a sequence of intensity-only images of a sample under angularly varying illumination. Then, using principles from ptychography and diffraction tomography, it computationally solves for the sample structure in three dimensions. The experimental microscope demonstrates a lateral spatial resolution of 0.39 ?m and an axial resolution of 3.7 ?m at the Nyquist-Shannon sampling limit (0.54 and 5.0 ?m at the Sparrow limit, respectively) across a total imaging depth of 110 ?m. Unlike competing methods, this technique quantitatively measures the volumetric refractive index of primarily transparent and contiguous sample features without the need for interferometry or any moving parts. Wide field-of-view reconstructions of thick biological specimens suggest potential applications in pathology and developmental biology.
Project description:Lignocellulosic biomass was used for thousands of years as animal feed and is now considered a great sugar source for biofuels production. It is composed mostly of secondary cell walls built with polysaccharide polymers that are embedded in lignin to reinforce the cell wall structure and maintain its integrity. Lignin is the primary material responsible for biomass recalcitrance to enzymatic hydrolysis. During plant development, deep reductions of lignin cause growth defects and often correlate with the loss of vessel integrity that adversely affects water and nutrient transport in plants. The work presented here describes a new approach to decrease lignin content while preventing vessel collapse and introduces a new strategy to boost transcription factor expression in native tissues. We used synthetic biology tools in Arabidopsis to rewire the secondary cell network by changing promoter-coding sequence associations. The result was a reduction in lignin and an increase in polysaccharide depositions in fibre cells. The promoter of a key lignin gene, C4H, was replaced by the vessel-specific promoter of transcription factor VND6. This rewired lignin biosynthesis specifically for vessel formation while disconnecting C4H expression from the fibre regulatory network. Secondly, the promoter of the IRX8 gene, secondary cell wall glycosyltransferase, was used to express a new copy of the fibre transcription factor NST1, and as the IRX8 promoter is induced by NST1, this also created an artificial positive feedback loop (APFL). The combination of strategies-lignin rewiring with APFL insertion-enhances polysaccharide deposition in stems without over-lignifying them, resulting in higher sugar yields after enzymatic hydrolysis.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Lignocellulosic materials provide an attractive replacement for food-based crops used to produce ethanol. Understanding the interactions within the cell wall is vital to overcome the highly recalcitrant nature of biomass. One factor imparting plant cell wall recalcitrance is lignin, which can be manipulated by making changes in the lignin biosynthetic pathway. In this study, eucalyptus down-regulated in expression of cinnamate 4-hydroxylase (C4H, EC 184.108.40.206) or p-coumaroyl quinate/shikimate 3'-hydroxylase (C3'H, EC 220.127.116.11) were evaluated for cell wall composition and reduced recalcitrance. RESULTS: Eucalyptus trees with down-regulated C4H or C3'H expression displayed lowered overall lignin content. The control samples had an average of 29.6 %, the C3'H reduced lines had an average of 21.7 %, and the C4H reduced lines had an average of 18.9 % lignin from wet chemical analysis. The C3'H and C4H down-regulated lines had different lignin compositions with average S/G/H ratios of 48.5/33.2/18.3 for the C3'H reduced lines and 59.0/39.8/1.2 for the C4H reduced lines, compared to the control with 65.9/33.2/1.0. Both the C4H and C3'H down-regulated lines had reduced recalcitrance as indicated by increased sugar release as determined using enzymatic conversion assays utilizing both no pretreatment and a hot water pretreatment. CONCLUSIONS: Lowering lignin content rather than altering sinapyl alcohol/coniferyl alcohol/4-coumaryl alcohol ratios was found to have the largest impact on reducing recalcitrance of the transgenic eucalyptus variants. The development of lower recalcitrance trees opens up the possibility of using alternative pretreatment strategies in biomass conversion processes that can reduce processing costs.
Project description:Lignin, a major component of the secondary cell wall, is important for plant growth and development. Moreover, lignin plays a pivotal role in plant innate immunity. Lignin is readily deposited upon pathogen infection and functions as a physical barrier that limits the spread of pathogens. In this study, we show that an Arabidopsis MYB transcription factor MYB15 is required for the activation of lignin biosynthesis genes such as PAL, C4H, 4CL, HCT, C3'H, COMT, and CAD, and consequently lignin formation during effector-triggered immune responses. Upon challenge with the avirulent bacterial pathogen Pst DC3000 (AvrRpm1), lignin deposition and disease resistance were reduced in myb15 mutant plants. Furthermore, whereas invading pathogens, together with hypersensitive cell death, were restricted to the infection site in wild-type leaves, they spread beyond the infected area in myb15 mutants. The exogenous supply of the lignin monomer coniferyl alcohol restored lignin production and rescued immune defects in myb15 plants. These results demonstrate that regulation at the transcriptional level is key to pathogen-induced lignification and that MYB15 plays a central role in this process.
Project description:Understanding Fe deposition in fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) catalysis is critical for the mitigation of catalyst degradation. Here we employ soft X-ray ptychography to determine at the nanoscale the distribution and chemical state of Fe in an aged FCC catalyst particle. We show that both particle swelling due to colloidal Fe deposition and Fe penetration into the matrix as a result of precracking of large organic molecules occur. The application of ptychography allowed us to provide direct visual evidence for these two distinct Fe-based deactivation mechanisms, which have so far been proposed only on the basis of indirect evidence.
Project description:Both high resolution and high precision are required to quantitatively determine the atomic structure of complex nanostructured materials. However, for conventional imaging methods in scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), atomic resolution with picometer precision cannot usually be achieved for weakly-scattering samples or radiation-sensitive materials, such as 2D materials. Here, we demonstrate low-dose, sub-angstrom resolution imaging with picometer precision using mixed-state electron ptychography. We show that correctly accounting for the partial coherence of the electron beam is a prerequisite for high-quality structural reconstructions due to the intrinsic partial coherence of the electron beam. The mixed-state reconstruction gains importance especially when simultaneously pursuing high resolution, high precision and large field-of-view imaging. Compared with conventional atomic-resolution STEM imaging techniques, the mixed-state ptychographic approach simultaneously provides a four-times-faster acquisition, with double the information limit at the same dose, or up to a fifty-fold reduction in dose at the same resolution.