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J Vis Exp. 2012 Jan 16;(59). pii: 3394. doi: 10.3791/3394.

A simple method for imaging Arabidopsis leaves using perfluorodecalin as an infiltrative imaging medium.

Author information

1
Biosciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, The University of Exeter.

Abstract

The problem of acquiring high-resolution images deep into biological samples is widely acknowledged. In air-filled tissue such as the spongy mesophyll of plant leaves or vertebrate lungs further difficulties arise from multiple transitions in refractive index between cellular components, between cells and airspaces and between the biological tissue and the rest of the optical system. Moreover, refractive index mismatches lead to attenuation of fluorophore excitation and signal emission in fluorescence microscopy. We describe here the application of the perfluorocarbon, perfluorodecalin (PFD), as an infiltrative imaging medium which optically improves laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM) sample imaging at depth, without resorting to damaging increases in laser power and has minimal physiological impact. We describe the protocol for use of PFD with Arabidopsis thaliana leaf tissue, which is optically complex as a result of its structure (Figure 1). PFD has a number of attributes that make it suitable for this use. The refractive index of PFD (1.313) is comparable with that of water (1.333) and is closer to that of cytosol (approx. 1.4) than air (1.000). In addition, PFD is readily available, non-fluorescent and is non-toxic. The low surface tension of PFD (19 dynes cm⁻¹) is lower than that of water (72 dynes cm⁻¹) and also below the limit (25-30 dyne cm⁻¹) for stomatal penetration, which allows it to flood the spongy mesophyll airspaces without the application of a potentially destructive vacuum or surfactant. Finally and crucially, PFD has a great capacity for dissolving CO₂ and O₂, which allows gas exchange to be maintained in the flooded tissue, thus minimizing the physiological impact on the sample. These properties have been used in various applications which include partial liquid breathing and lung inflation, surgery, artificial blood, oxygenation of growth media, and studies of ice crystal formation in plants. Currently, it is common to mount tissue in water or aqueous buffer for live confocal imaging. We consider that the use of PFD as a mounting medium represents an improvement on existing practice and allows the simple preparation of live whole leaf samples for imaging.

PMID:
22301790
PMCID:
PMC3462561
DOI:
10.3791/3394
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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