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J Exp Bot. 2011 Apr;62(7):2411-7. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erq444. Epub 2011 Jan 25.

Dynamic imaging of glucose flux impedance using FRET sensors in wild-type Arabidopsis plants.

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Department of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution for Science, 260 Panama Street, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


Quantitative and dynamic analysis of metabolites and signalling molecules is limited by technical challenges in obtaining temporally resolved information at the cellular and compartmental level. Real-time information on signalling and metabolite levels with subcellular granularity can be obtained with the help of genetically encoded FRET (Förster resonance energy transfer) nanosensors. FRET nanosensors represent powerful tools for gene discovery, and analysis of regulatory networks, for example by screening mutants. However, RNA silencing has impaired our ability to express FRET nanosensors functionally in Arabidopsis plants. This drawback was overcome here by expressing the nanosensors in RNA silencing mutants. However, the use of silencing mutants requires the generation of homozygous lines deficient in RNA silencing as well as the mutation of interest and co-expression of the nanosensor. Here it is shown that dynamic changes in cytosolic glucose levels can readily be quantified in wild-type Arabidopsis plants at early stages of development (7-15 d) before silencing had a major effect on fluorescence intensity. A detailed protocol for screening 10-20 mutant seedlings per day is provided. The detailed imaging protocol provided here is suitable for analysing sugar flux in young wild-type plants as well as mutants affected in sugar signalling, metabolism, or transport using a wide spectrum of FRET nanosensors.

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