0 Q&A 364 Views Jul 5, 2024

In recent years, the increase in genome sequencing across diverse plant species has provided a significant advantage for phylogenomics studies, allowing the analysis of one of the most diverse gene families in plants: nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat receptors (NLRs). However, due to the sequence diversity of the NLR gene family, identifying key molecular features and functionally conserved sequence patterns is challenging through multiple sequence alignment. Here, we present a step-by-step protocol for a computational pipeline designed to identify evolutionarily conserved motifs in plant NLR proteins. In this protocol, we use a large-scale NLR dataset, including 1,862 NLR genes annotated from monocot and dicot species, to predict conserved sequence motifs, such as the MADA and EDVID motifs, within the coiled-coil (CC)-NLR subfamily. Our pipeline can be applied to identify molecular signatures that have remained conserved in the gene family over evolutionary time across plant species.

0 Q&A 79 Views Jul 5, 2024

CRISPR-Cas9 technology has become an essential tool for plant genome editing. Recent advancements have significantly improved the ability to target multiple genes simultaneously within the same genetic background through various strategies. Additionally, there has been significant progress in developing methods for inducible or tissue-specific editing. These advancements offer numerous possibilities for tailored genome modifications. Building upon existing research, we have developed an optimized and modular strategy allowing the targeting of several genes simultaneously in combination with the synchronized expression of the Cas9 endonuclease in the egg cell. This system allows significant editing efficiency while avoiding mosaicism. In addition, the versatile system we propose allows adaptation to inducible and/or tissue-specific edition according to the promoter chosen to drive the expression of the Cas9 gene. Here, we describe a step-by-step protocol for generating the binary vector necessary for establishing Arabidopsis edited lines using a versatile cloning strategy that combines Gateway® and Golden Gate technologies. We describe a versatile system that allows the cloning of as many guides as needed to target DNA, which can be multiplexed into a polycistronic gene and combined in the same construct with sequences for the expression of the Cas9 endonuclease. The expression of Cas9 is controlled by selecting from among a collection of promoters, including constitutive, inducible, ubiquitous, or tissue-specific promoters. Only one vector containing the polycistronic gene (tRNA-sgRNA) needs to be constructed. For that, sgRNA (composed of protospacers chosen to target the gene of interest and sgRNA scaffold) is cloned in tandem with the pre-tRNA sequence. Then, a single recombination reaction is required to assemble the promoter, the zCas9 coding sequence, and the tRNA-gRNA polycistronic gene. Each element is cloned in an entry vector and finally assembled according to the Multisite Gateway® Technology. Here, we detail the process to express zCas9 under the control of egg cell promoter fused to enhancer sequence (EC1.2en-EC1.1p) and to simultaneously target two multiple C2 domains and transmembrane region protein genes (MCTP3 and MCTP4, respectively at3g57880 and at1g51570), using one or two sgRNA per gene.

0 Q&A 584 Views Jun 20, 2024

All aerial organs in plants originate from the shoot apical meristem, a specialized tissue at the tip of a plant, enclosing a few stem cells. Understanding developmental dynamics within this tissue in relation to internal and external stimuli is of crucial importance. Imaging the meristem at the cellular level beyond very early stages requires the apex to be detached from the plant body, a procedure that does not allow studies in living, intact plants over longer periods. This protocol describes a new confocal microscopy method with the potential to image the shoot apical meristem of an intact, soil-grown, flowering Arabidopsis plant over several days. The setup opens new avenues to study apical stem cells, their interconnection with the whole plant, and their responses to environmental stimuli.

0 Q&A 698 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 422 Views Jun 5, 2024

The roots of herbaceous and woody plants growing in soil are complex structures that are affected by both natural and artificial fungal colonization to various extents. To obtain comprehensive information about the overall distribution of fungi or oomycetes inside a plant root system, rapid, effective, and reliable screening methods are required. To observe both fine roots, i.e., a common site for penetration of fungi and oomycetes, and mature roots, different techniques are required to overcome visual barriers, such as root browning or tissue thickening. In our protocol, we propose using fast, cost-effective, and non-harmful methods to localize fungal or oomycete structures inside plant roots. Root staining with a fluorescent dye provides a quick initial indication of the presence of fungal structures on the root surfaces. The protocol is followed by clearing and staining steps, resulting in a deeper insight into the root tissue positioning, abundance, and characteristic morphological/reproductive features of fungal or oomycete organisms. If required, the stained samples can be prepared by using freeze-drying for further observations, including advanced microscopic techniques.

0 Q&A 745 Views May 20, 2024

Agrobacterium-mediated transient gene expression in Nicotiana benthamiana is widely used to study gene function in plants. One dramatic phenotype that is frequently screened for is cell death. Here, we present a simplified protocol for Agrobacterium-mediated transient gene expression by infiltration. Compared with current methods, the novel protocol can be done without a centrifuge or spectrometer, thereby suitable for K-12 outreach programs as well as rapidly identifying genes that induce cell death.

0 Q&A 594 Views May 5, 2024

Ribosomes are an archetypal ribonucleoprotein assembly. Due to ribosomal evolution and function, r-proteins share specific physicochemical similarities, making the riboproteome particularly suited for tailored proteome profiling methods. Moreover, the structural proteome of ribonucleoprotein assemblies reflects context-dependent functional features. Thus, characterizing the state of riboproteomes provides insights to uncover the context-dependent functionality of r-protein rearrangements, as they relate to what has been termed the ribosomal code, a concept that parallels that of the histone code, in which chromatin rearrangements influence gene expression. Compared to high-resolution ribosomal structures, omics methods lag when it comes to offering customized solutions to close the knowledge gap between structure and function that currently exists in riboproteomes. Purifying the riboproteome and subsequent shot-gun proteomics typically involves protein denaturation and digestion with proteases. The results are relative abundances of r-proteins at the ribosome population level. We have previously shown that, to gain insight into the stoichiometry of individual proteins, it is necessary to measure by proteomics bound r-proteins and normalize their intensities by the sum of r-protein abundances per ribosomal complex, i.e., 40S or 60S subunits. These calculations ensure that individual r-protein stoichiometries represent the fraction of each family/paralog relative to the complex, effectively revealing which r-proteins become substoichiometric in specific physiological scenarios. Here, we present an optimized method to profile the riboproteome of any organism as well as the synthesis rates of r-proteins determined by stable isotope-assisted mass spectrometry. Our method purifies the r-proteins in a reversibly denatured state, which offers the possibility for combined top-down and bottom-up proteomics. Our method offers a milder native denaturation of the r-proteome via a chaotropic GuHCl solution as compared with previous studies that use irreversible denaturation under highly acidic conditions to dissociate rRNA and r-proteins. As such, our method is better suited to conserve post-translational modifications (PTMs). Subsequently, our method carefully considers the amino acid composition of r-proteins to select an appropriate protease for digestion. We avoid non-specific protease cleavage by increasing the pH of our standardized r-proteome dilutions that enter the digestion pipeline and by using a digestion buffer that ensures an optimal pH for a reliable protease digestion process. Finally, we provide the R package ProtSynthesis to study the fractional synthesis rates of r-proteins. The package uses physiological parameters as input to determine peptide or protein fractional synthesis rates. Once the physiological parameters are measured, our equations allow a fair comparison between treatments that alter the biological equilibrium state of the system under study. Our equations correct peptide enrichment using enrichments in soluble amino acids, growth rates, and total protein accumulation. As a means of validation, our pipeline fails to find “false” enrichments in non-labeled samples while also filtering out proteins with multiple unique peptides that have different enrichment values, which are rare in our datasets. These two aspects reflect the accuracy of our tool. Our method offers the possibility of elucidating individual r-protein family/paralog abundances, PTM status, fractional synthesis rates, and dynamic assembly into ribosomal complexes if top-down and bottom-up proteomic approaches are used concomitantly, taking one step further into mapping the native and dynamic status of the r-proteome onto high-resolution ribosome structures. In addition, our method can be used to study the proteomes of all macromolecular assemblies that can be purified, although purification is the limiting step, and the efficacy and accuracy of the proteases may be limited depending on the digestion requirements.

0 Q&A 639 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 374 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 574 Views Feb 5, 2024

Seeds ensure the growth of a new generation of plants and are thus central to maintaining plant populations and ecosystem processes. Nevertheless, much remains to be learned about seed biology and responses of germinated seedlings to environmental challenges. Experiments aiming to close these knowledge gaps critically depend on the availability of healthy, viable seeds. Here, we report a protocol for the collection of seeds from plants in the genus Populus. This genus comprises trees with a wide distribution in temperate forests and with economic relevance, used as scientific models for perennial plants. As seed characteristics can vary drastically between taxonomic groups, protocols need to be tailored carefully. Our protocol takes the delicate nature of Populus seeds into account. It uses P. deltoides as an example and provides a template to optimize bulk seed extraction for other Populus species and plants with similar seed characteristics. The protocol is designed to only use items available in most labs and households and that can be sterilized easily. The unique characteristics of this protocol allow for the fast and effective extraction of high-quality seeds. Here, we report on seed collection, extraction, cleaning, storage, and viability tests. Moreover, extracted seeds are well suited for tissue culture and experiments under sterile conditions. Seed material obtained with this protocol can be used to further our understanding of tree seed biology, seedling performance under climate change, or diversity of forest genetic resources.

Key features

Populus species produce seeds that are small, delicate, non-dormant, with plenty of seed hair. Collection of seed material needs to be timed properly.

• Processing, seed extraction, seed cleaning, and storage using simple, sterilizable laboratory and household items only. Obtained seeds are pure, high quality, close to 100% viability.

• Seeds work well in tissue culture and in experiments under sterile conditions.

• Extractability, speed, and seed germination were studied and confirmed for Populus deltoides as an example.

• Can also serve as template for bulk seed collection from other Populus species and plant groups that produce delicate seeds (with no or little modifications).

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 821 Views Oct 5, 2023

Understanding silique and seed morphology is essential to developmental biology. Arabidopsis thaliana is one of the best-studied plant models for understanding the genetic determinants of seed count and size. However, the small size of its seeds, and their encasement in a pod known as silique, makes investigating their numbers and morphology both time consuming and tedious. Researchers often report bulk seed weights as an indicator of average seed size, but this overlooks individual seed details. Removal of the seeds and subsequent image analysis is possible, but automated counts are often impossible due to seed pigmentation and shadowing. Traditional ways of analyzing seed count and size, without their removal from the silique, involve lengthy histological processing (24–48 h) and the use of toxic organic solvents. We developed a method that is non-invasive, requires minimal sample processing, and obtains data in a short period of time (1–2 h). This method uses a custom X-ray imaging system to visualize Arabidopsis siliques at different stages of their growth. We show that this process can be successfully used to analyze the overall topology of Arabidopsis siliques and seed size and count. This new method can be easily adapted for other plant models.

Key features

• No requirement for organic solvents for imaging siliques.

• Easy image capture and rapid turnaround time for obtaining data.

• Protocol may be easily adapted for other plant models.

Graphical overview

Arabidopsis siliques using the Inspex 20i X-ray machine

0 Q&A 488 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.