Scanning Microscopy


Fluorescent probes allow measurement of dynamic changes of calcium and pH in living cells. Imaging using confocal scanning laser microscopy provides a route to spatially map these dynamics over time in single optical sections or in 3-D images. We have developed a dual-excitation confocal system to allow ratio measurements of pH and calcium, that compensate for changes in dye distribution, leakage and photobleaching. Application of these techniques to plant tissues is complicated by the difficulty in loading the tissues with dye. We describe a new technique to assist dye loading in intact leaves of Lemna using a pre-treatment with cutinase. Once within plant tissues, many dyes compartmentalise into the vacuole. We report the use of chloromethylfluorescein diacetate as an alternative to BCECF [2' ,7'-bis-(2-carboxyethyl)-5-(and 6)carboxyfluorescein] as a pH probe with greater cytoplasmic retention times. In addition, the confocal system allowed discrimination of signals from different compartments and permitted simultaneous measurement of vacuolar and cytoplasmic pH ratios in epidermal strips from Hordeum. We have developed a series of software tools to extract quantitative data from multi-dimensional images and illustrate these approaches with reference to pollen tube growth in Lilium and peptide-evoked changes in pH and calcium in stomata! guard cells from Commelina and Vicia.

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