A ClearSee-Based Clearing Protocol for 3D Visualization of Arabidopsis thaliana Embryos.
ABSTRACT: Tissue clearing methods combined with confocal microscopy have been widely used for studying developmental biology. In plants, ClearSee is a reliable clearing method that is applicable to a wide range of tissues and is suitable for gene expression analysis using fluorescent reporters, but its application to the Arabidopsis thaliana embryo, a model system to study morphogenesis and pattern formation, has not been described in the original literature. Here, we describe a ClearSee-based clearing protocol which is suitable for obtaining 3D images of Arabidopsis thaliana embryos. The method consists of embryo dissection, fixation, washing, clearing, and cell wall staining and enables high-quality 3D imaging of embryo morphology and expression of fluorescent reporters with the cellular resolution. Our protocol provides a reliable method that is applicable to the analysis of morphogenesis and gene expression patterns in Arabidopsis thaliana embryos.
Project description:Considerable progress has been made in understanding the influence of physical and genetic factors on the patterns of cell division in various model systems. However, how each of these factors directs changes in subcellular structures has remained unclear. Generic machineries for the execution of cell expansion and division have been characterized, but how these are influenced by genetic regulators and physical cell properties remains an open question. To a large degree, the complexity of growing post-embryonic tissues and a lack of precise predictability have prevented the extraction of rigid correlations between subcellular structures and future orientation of cell division. The Arabidopsis embryo offers an exquisitely predictable and simple model for studying such correlations, but so far the tools and methodology for studying subcellular structures in the early embryo have been lacking. Here, we describe a set of markers to visualize a range of subcellular structures in the early Arabidopsis embryo. We have designed a series of fluorescent cellular reporters optimized for embryos, and demonstrate the effectiveness of using these 'ACE' reporters with simple three-dimensional imaging procedures that preserve delicate cellular structures. We describe the ontogeny of subcellular structures in the early embryo and find that central/peripheral cell polarity is established much earlier than suspected. In addition, we show that the actin and microtubule cytoskeleton has distinct topologies in the embryo. These tools and methods will allow detailed analysis of the events of cellular reorganization that underlie morphogenesis in the Arabidopsis embryo.
Project description:The plastid is an organelle vital to all photosynthetic and some non-photosynthetic eukaryotes. In the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, a number of nuclear genes encoding plastid proteins have been found to be necessary for embryo development. However, the exact roles of plastids in this process remain largely unknown. Here we use publicly available datasets to obtain insights into the relevance of plastid activities to A. thaliana embryogenesis. By searching the SeedGenes database (http://www.seedgenes.org) and recent literature, we found that, of the 339 non-redundant genes required for proper embryo formation, 108 genes likely encode plastid-targeted proteins. Nineteen of these genes are necessary for development of preglobular embryos and/or their conversion to globular embryos, of which 13 genes encode proteins involved in non-photosynthetic metabolism. By contrast, among 38 genes which are dispensable for globular embryo formation but necessary for further development, only one codes for a protein involved in metabolism. Products of 21 of the 38 genes play roles in plastid gene expression and maintenance. Examination of RNA profiles of embryos at distinct growth stages obtained in laser-capture microdissection coupled with DNA microarray experiments revealed that most of the identified genes are expressed throughout embryo morphogenesis and maturation. These findings suggest that metabolic activities are required at preglobular and throughout all stages of embryo development, whereas plastid gene expression becomes necessary during and/or after the globular stage to sustain various activities of the organelle including photosynthetic electron transport.
Project description:Seed development in the angiosperms requires the production of a female gametophyte (embryo sac) within the ovule. Many aspects of female reproductive development in cereal crops are yet to be described, largely due to the technical difficulty in obtaining phenotypic information at the cellular or sub-cellular level. Hoyer's solution is currently well established as a solution for clearing thin tissues samples, such as sections or whole tissues of bryophytes, mycorrhizal fungi, and small model organisms (e.g. Arabidopsis thaliana).Here we report a Hoyer's solution-based clearing method to facilitate clearing of the whole barley pistil, with high reproducibility. The clearing process takes 10 days from fixation to visualisation, whereupon tissue is sufficiently clear to obtain multiple phenotypic measurements from sub-epidermal tissues and cells within the ovule.Visualisation of cereal ovules that have not been dissected from the pistil allows an unprecedented capability to collect quantitative morphological information from the developing ovule, integument, nucellus and embryo sac. This will enable comparisons with genetic data to reveal the contribution of pre-fertilisation ovule tissues towards downstream seed development.
Project description:Fluorescent reporter proteins based on flavin-binding photosensors were recently developed as a new class of genetically encoded probes characterized by small size and oxygen-independent maturation of fluorescence. Flavin-based fluorescent proteins (FbFPs) address two major limitations associated with existing fluorescent reporters derived from the green fluorescent protein (GFP)-namely, the overall large size and oxygen-dependent maturation of fluorescence of GFP. However, FbFPs are at a nascent stage of development and have been utilized in only a handful of biological studies. Importantly, a full understanding of the performance and properties of FbFPs as a practical set of biological probes is lacking. In this work, we extensively characterize three FbFPs isolated from Pseudomonas putida, Bacillus subtilis, and Arabidopsis thaliana, using in vitro studies to assess probe brightness, oligomeric state, maturation time, fraction of fluorescent holoprotein, pH tolerance, redox sensitivity, and thermal stability. Furthermore, we validate FbFPs as stable molecular tags using in vivo studies by constructing a series of FbFP-based transcriptional constructs to probe promoter activity in Escherichia coli. Overall, FbFPs show key advantages as broad-spectrum biological reporters including robust pH tolerance (4-11), thermal stability (up to 60°C), and rapid maturation of fluorescence (<3 min.). In addition, the FbFP derived from Arabidopsis thaliana (iLOV) emerged as a stable and nonperturbative reporter of promoter activity in Escherichia coli. Our results demonstrate that FbFP-based reporters have the potential to address key limitations associated with the use of GFP, such as pH-sensitive fluorescence and slow kinetics of fluorescence maturation (10-40 minutes for half maximal fluorescence recovery). From this view, FbFPs represent a useful new addition to the fluorescent reporter protein palette, and our results constitute an important framework to enable researchers to implement and further engineer improved FbFP-based reporters with enhanced brightness and tighter flavin binding, which will maximize their potential benefits.
Project description:Confocal microscopy is widely used to visualize gene expression patterns and developmental processes in plants. However, the imaging of plant tissue can be challenging due to its opacity, which often makes previous immersion in a clearing agent necessary. Many commonly-used chemicals suffer either from their incompatibility with fluorescent proteins or their complex and lengthy application. 2,2'-thiodiethanol (TDE) has recently been described as a clearing agent with an emphasis on high resolution microscopy due to its potential to adjust the refractive index. Here, we evaluate the use of TDE-based clearing for confocal as well as two-photon microscopy in various Arabidopsis thaliana tissue types. We demonstrate that tissue fixation is a mandatory prerequisite for the use of TDE, in order to preserve tissue integrity and fluorescent protein activity. TDE concentrations between 50-70% are a good compromise for imaging of technically challenging tissue to achieve good clearing without affecting fluorescent protein activity. TDE-based clearing is simple and rapid to use and allows for a flexible experimental setup while facilitating high quality imaging.
Project description:Xenopus embryo yolk proteins present a serious barrier to fluorescence microscopy. Previously, in situ assays of gene transcripts in whole embryos was limited to the use of chromogenic alkaline phosphatase substrates, which restricted researchers' ability to gauge coexpression of transcripts. Here, we describe a modified in situ hybridization (ISH) protocol that uses fluorescent substrates and a novel yolk-clearing technique for simultaneous visualization of the expression of two genes in whole Xenopus embryos with high resolution. This protocol employs two well-known fluorescent substrates, nitro blue tetrazolium/5-bromo- 4-chloro-3-indolyl-phosphate (NBT/BCIP) and Vector Red, in a sequential dual in situ hybridization procedure. Subsequent clearing of the samples with refractive-index-matching solution (RIMS) renders the samples amenable to confocal microscopy, allowing imaging at sufficiently high resolution to discern coexpression of transcripts within individual cells.
Project description:Plant tissue architecture and organ morphogenesis rely on the proper orientation of cell divisions. Previous attempts to predict division planes from cell geometry in plants mostly focused on 2D symmetric divisions. Using the stereotyped division patterns of Arabidopsis thaliana early embryogenesis, we investigated geometrical principles underlying plane selection in symmetric and in asymmetric divisions within complex 3D cell shapes. Introducing a 3D computational model of cell division, we show that area minimization constrained on passing through the cell centroid predicts observed divisions. Our results suggest that the positioning of division planes ensues from cell geometry and gives rise to spatially organized cell types with stereotyped shapes, thus underlining the role of self-organization in the developing architecture of the embryo. Our data further suggested the rule could be interpreted as surface minimization constrained by the nucleus position, which was validated using live imaging of cell divisions in the stomatal cell lineage.
Project description:Nuclear factor Y (NF-Y) is a trimeric transcription factor composed of three distinct subunits called NF-YA, NF-YB and NF-YC. In Arabidopsis thaliana, NF-Y subunits are known to play roles in many processes, such as gametogenesis, embryogenesis, seed development, drought resistance, ABA signaling, flowering time, primary root elongation, Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) stress response and blue light responses. Here, we report that the closely related NF-YA3 and NF-YA8 genes control early embryogenesis. Detailed GUS and in situ analyses showed that NF-YA3 and NF-YA8 are expressed in vegetative and reproductive tissues with the highest expression being during embryo development from the globular to the torpedo embryo stage. Plants from the nf-ya3 and nf-ya8 single mutants do not display any obvious phenotypic alteration, whereas nf-ya3 nf-ya8 double mutants are embryo lethal. Morphological analyses showed that the nf-ya3 nf-ya8 embryos fail to undergo to the heart stage and develop into abnormal globular embryos with both proembryo and suspensor characterized by a disordered cell cluster with an irregular shape, suggesting defects in embryo development. The suppression of both NF-YA3 and NF-YA8 gene expression by RNAi experiments resulted in defective embryos that phenocopied the nf-ya3 nf-ya8 double mutants, whereas complementation experiments partially rescued the abnormal globular nf-ya3 nf-ya8 embryos, confirming that NF-YA3 and NF-YA8 are required in early embryogenesis. Finally, the lack of GFP expression of the auxin responsive DR5rev::GFP marker line in double mutant embryos suggested that mutations in both NF-YA3 and NF-YA8 affect auxin response in early developing embryos. Our findings indicate that NF-YA3 and NF-YA8 are functionally redundant genes required in early embryogenesis of Arabidopsis thaliana.
Project description:Plants have intercellular channels, plasmodesmata (PD), that span the cell wall to enable cell-to-cell transport of micro- and macromolecules. We identified an Arabidopsis thaliana embryo lethal mutant increased size exclusion limit 1 (ise1) that results in increased PD-mediated transport of fluorescent tracers. The ise1 mutants have a higher frequency of branched and twinned PD than wild-type embryos. Silencing of ISE1 in mature Nicotiana benthamiana leaves also leads to increased PD transport, as monitored by intercellular movement of a GFP fusion to the tobacco mosaic virus movement protein. ISE1 encodes a putative plant-specific DEAD-box RNA helicase that localizes specifically to mitochondria. The N-terminal 100 aa of ISE1 specify mitochondrial targeting. Mitochondrial metabolism is compromised severely in ise1 mutant embryos, because their mitochondrial proton gradient is disrupted and reactive oxygen species production is increased. Although mitochondria are essential for numerous cell-autonomous functions, the present studies demonstrate that mitochondrial function also regulates the critical cell non-cell-autonomous function of PD.
Project description:Seeds accumulate iron during embryo maturation stages of embryogenesis. Using Arabidopsis thaliana as model plant, it has been described that mature embryos accumulate iron within a specific cell layer, the endodermis. This distribution pattern was conserved in most of the analyzed members from Brassicales, with the exception of the basal Vasconcellea pubescens that also showed elevated amounts of iron in cortex cells. To determine whether the V. pubescens iron distribution was indicative of a wider pattern in non-Brassicales Eudicotyledoneae, we studied iron distribution pattern in different embryos belonging to plant species from different Orders from Eudicotyledoneae and one basal from Magnoliidae. The results obtained indicate that iron distribution in A. thaliana embryo is an extreme case of apomorphic character found in Brassicales, not-extensive to the rest of Eudicotyledoneae.