0 Q&A 568 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 369 Views Sep 5, 2023

The flux in photosynthesis can be studied by performing 13CO2 pulse labelling and analysing the temporal labelling kinetics of metabolic intermediates using gas or liquid chromatography linked to mass spectrometry. Metabolic flux analysis (MFA) is the primary approach for analysing metabolic network function and quantifying intracellular metabolic fluxes. Different MFA approaches differ based on the metabolic state (steady vs. non-steady state) and the use of stable isotope tracers. The main methodology used to investigate metabolic systems is metabolite steady state associated with stable isotope labelling experiments. Specifically, in biological systems like photoautotrophic organisms, isotopic non-stationary 13C metabolic flux analysis at metabolic steady state with transient isotopic labelling (13C-INST-MFA) is required. The common requirement for metabolic steady state, alongside its very short half-timed reactions, complicates robust MFA of photosynthetic metabolism. While custom gas chambers design has addressed these challenges in various model plants, no similar tools were developed for liquid photosynthetic cultures (e.g., algae, cyanobacteria), where diffusion and equilibration of inorganic carbon species in the medium entails a new dimension of complexity. Recently, a novel tailor-made microfluidics labelling system has been introduced, supplying short 13CO2 pulses at steady state, and resolving fluxes across most photosynthetic metabolic pathways in algae. The system involves injecting algal cultures and medium containing pre-equilibrated inorganic 13C into a microfluidic mixer, followed by rapid metabolic quenching, enabling precise seconds-level label pulses. This was complemented by a 13CO2-bubbling-based open labelling system (photobioreactor), allowing long pulses (minutes–hours) required for investigating fluxes into central C metabolism and major products. This combined labelling procedure provides a comprehensive fluxome cover for most algal photosynthetic and central C metabolism pathways, thus allowing comparative flux analyses across algae and plants.

2 Q&A 1716 Views Oct 20, 2022

The ascorbate peroxidase (APX) is a widely distributed antioxidant enzyme. It differs from catalase and other peroxidases in that it scavenges/reduces reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to water using reduced ascorbate as the electron donor. It is advantageous over other similar antioxidant enzymes in scavenging ROS since ascorbate may react with superoxide, singlet oxygen, and hydroxyl radical, in addition to reacting with H2O2. The estimation of its activity is helpful to analyze the level of oxidative stress in living systems under stressful conditions. The present protocol was performed to analyze the impact of heavy metal chromium (Cr) toxicity on sorghum plants in the form of APX enzyme activity under the application of glycine betaine (GB) and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) as stress ameliorators. Plant defense strategies against heavy metals toxicity involve the utilization of APX and the instigation of AMF symbiotic system, as well as their possible collaboration with one another or with the plant antioxidant system; this has been examined and discussed in literature. In this protocol, an increased APX activity was observed on underlying functions and detoxification capabilities of GB and AMF that are typically used by plants to enhance tolerance to Cr toxicity.

Graphical abstract:

Flow chart of standardized or calibrated enzyme assay with leaf samples of sorghum

0 Q&A 746 Views Sep 20, 2022

Weeds compete with crops for growth resources, causing tremendous yield losses. Paraquat is one of the three most common non-selective herbicides. To study the mechanisms of paraquat resistance, we need to trace the movement of paraquat in plants and within the cell. 14C is a radioactive carbon isotope widely used to trace substances of interest in various biological studies, especially in transport analyses. Here, we describe a detailed protocol using 14C-paraquat to demonstrate paraquat efflux in Arabidopsis protoplasts.

0 Q&A 2025 Views Jun 20, 2022

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is an essential cofactor of numerous enzymatic reactions found in all living cells. Pyridine nucleotides (NAD+ and NADH) are also key players in signaling through reactive oxygen species (ROS), being crucial in the regulation of both ROS-producing and ROS-consuming systems in plants. NAD content is a powerful modulator of metabolic integration, protein de-acetylation, and DNA repair. The balance between NAD oxidized and reduced forms, i.e., the NADH/NAD+ ratio, indicates the redox state of a cell, and it is a measurement that reflects the metabolic health of cells. Here we present an easy method to estimate the NAD+ and NADH content enzymatically, using alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), an oxido-reductase enzyme, and with MTT (3-(4,5-Dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide) as the substrate and 1-methoxy PMS (1-Methoxy-5-methylphenazinium methyl sulfate) as the electron carrier. MTT is reduced to a purple formazan, which is then detected. We used Arabidopsis leaf samples exposed to aluminum toxicity and under untreated control conditions. NADH/NAD+ connects many aspects of metabolism and plays vital roles in plant developmental processes and stress responses. Therefore, it is fundamental to determine the status of NADH/NAD+ under stress.

0 Q&A 2463 Views Mar 5, 2022

Iron (Fe) is an indispensable micronutrient for plant growth and development. Since both deficiency, as well as a surplus of Fe, can be detrimental to plant health, plants need to constantly tune uptake rates to maintain an optimum level of Fe. Quantification of Fe serves as an important parameter for analyzing the fitness of plants from different accessions, or mutants and transgenic lines with altered expression of specific genes. To quantify metals in plant samples, methods based on inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) or inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) have been widely employed. Although these methods are highly accurate, these methodologies rely on sophisticated equipment which is not always available. Moreover, ICP-OES and ICP-MS allow for surveying several metals in the same sample, which may not be necessary if only the Fe status is to be determined. Here, we outline a simple and cost-efficient protocol to quantify Fe concentrations in roots and shoots of Arabidopsis seedlings, by using a spectroscopy-based assay to quantify Fe2+-BPDS3 complexes against a set of standards. This protocol provides a fast and reproducible method to determine Fe levels in plant samples with high precision and low costs, which does not depend on expensive equipment and expertise to operate such equipment.

1 Q&A 2515 Views Jan 20, 2022

Rhizoctonia solani is a soil-borne fungus, which rarely produces any spores in culture. Hence, all inoculation procedures are based on mycelia, often as a coat on cereal kernels, placed in close vicinity to the plant to be infected. In this protocol, an inoculation method is described where the fungus is first allowed to infest a perlite-maize flour substrate for 10 days, followed by thorough soil mixing to generate uniform fungal distribution. Pre-grown seedlings are then replanted in the infested soil. Plant materials can be harvested, five (sugar beet) and ten days (Arabidopsis) post infection, followed by a rapid cleaning step ahead of any nucleic acid preparation. Commercial DNA or RNA extraction kits can be used or, if higher DNA yield is required, a CTAB extraction method. Our purpose was to develop a reliable and reproducible protocol to determine the infection levels in planta upon infection with R. solani. This protocol is less laborious compared to previous ones, improves the consistency of plant infection, reproducibility between experiments, and suits both a root crop and Arabidopsis.

Graphic abstract:

Overview of the R. solani infection procedure.

0 Q&A 1749 Views Oct 20, 2021

Lipids in biomembranes can control the structure and, therefore, the functionality of membrane-embedded protein complexes. Unraveling how the lipid composition determines the mode of operation of membrane proteins provides mechanistic insights into their functionality. We applied a proteoliposome technique for studying how proteins function in biomembranes. The incorporation of isolated membrane proteins in preformed liposomes made from a well-defined lipid composition (proteoliposomes) is a powerful tool for studying lipid-protein interactions. Over several decades, the proteoliposome technique was employed for many different membrane proteins. Recently, it was recognized that different lipid compositions control the light-harvesting functionality of the major photosynthetic light-harvesting complex II (LHCII) isolated from plant thylakoid membranes in vitro. This technique allows systematic examination of the role of so-called non-bilayer lipids on light-harvesting characteristics of LHCII. This protocol describes the isolation of LHCII from leaves and details a four-step procedure to incorporate the detergent-solubilized membrane protein in large unilamellar vesicles (LUV). The protocol was optimized to ensure a very high lipid/protein ratio, designed to specifically examine lipid-protein interactions by minimizing LHCII aggregation. The procedure provides structurally and functionally highly intact LHCII in a detergent-free lipid bilayer with a defined composition.

0 Q&A 1756 Views Oct 20, 2021

Defense priming describes the enhanced potency of cells to activate defense responses. Priming accompanies local and systemic immune responses and can be triggered by microbial infection or upon treatment with certain chemicals. Thus, chemically activating defense priming is promising for biomedicine and agriculture. However, test systems for spotting priming-inducing chemicals are rare. Here, we describe a high-throughput screen for compounds that prime microbial pattern-spurred secretion of antimicrobial furanocoumarins in parsley culture cells. For the best possible throughput, we perform the assay with 1-ml aliquots of cell culture in 24-well microtiter plates. The advantages of the non-invasive test over competitive assays are its simplicity, remarkable reliability, and high sensitivity, which is based on furanocoumarin fluorescence in UV light.

0 Q&A 2497 Views Oct 5, 2021

Dark respiration refers to experimental measures of leaf respiration in the absence of light, done to distinguish it from the photorespiration that occurs during photosynthesis. Dark aerobic respiration reactions occur solely in the mitochondria and convert glucose molecules from cytoplasmatic glycolysis and oxygen into carbon dioxide and water, with the generation of ATP molecules. Previous methods typically use oxygen sensors to measure oxygen depletion or complicated and expensive photosynthesis instruments to measure CO2 accumulation. Here, we provide a detailed, step-by-step approach to measure dark respiration in plants by recording CO2 fluxes of Arabidopsis shoot and root tissues. Briefly, plants are dark acclimated for 1 hour, leaves and roots are excised and placed separately in airtight chambers, and CO2 accumulation is measured over time with standard infrared gas analyzers. The time-series data is processed with R scripts to produce dark respiration rates, which can be standardized by fresh or dry tissue mass. The current method requires inexpensive infrared gas analyzers, off-the-shelf parts for chambers, and publicly available data analysis scripts.