In Situ Hybridization for the Precise Localization of Transcripts in Plants

Javelle, M., Marco, C. F., Timmermans, M. (2011) In Situ Hybridization for the Precise Localization of Transcripts in Plants. Journal of Visualized Experiments (57). ISSN 1940-087X (Electronic)1940-087X (Linking)

URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22143276
DOI: 10.3791/3328

Abstract

With the advances in genomics research of the past decade, plant biology has seen numerous studies presenting large-scale quantitative analyses of gene expression. Microarray and next generation sequencing approaches are being used to investigate developmental, physiological and stress response processes, dissect epigenetic and small RNA pathways, and build large gene regulatory networks(1-3). While these techniques facilitate the simultaneous analysis of large gene sets, they typically provide a very limited spatiotemporal resolution of gene expression changes. This limitation can be partially overcome by using either profiling method in conjunction with lasermicrodissection or fluorescence-activated cell sorting(4-7). However, to fully understand the biological role of a gene, knowledge of its spatiotemporal pattern of expression at a cellular resolution is essential. Particularly, when studying development or the effects of environmental stimuli and mutants can the detailed analysis of a gene's expression pattern become essential. For instance, subtle quantitative differences in the expression levels of key regulatory genes can lead to dramatic phenotypes when associated with the loss or gain of expression in specific cell types. Several methods are routinely used for the detailed examination of gene expression patterns. One is through analysis of transgenic reporter lines. Such analysis can, however, become time-consuming when analyzing multiple genes or working in plants recalcitrant to transformation. Moreover, an independent validation to ensure that the transgene expression pattern mimics that of the endogenous gene is typically required. Immunohistochemical protein localization or mRNA in situ hybridization present relatively fast alternatives for the direct visualization of gene expression within cells and tissues. The latter has the distinct advantage that it can be readily used on any gene of interest. In situ hybridization allows detection of target mRNAs in cells by hybridization with a labeled anti-sense RNA probe obtained by in vitro transcription of the gene of interest. Here we outline a protocol for the in situ localization of gene expression in plants that is highly sensitivity and specific. It is optimized for use with paraformaldehyde fixed, paraffin-embedded sections, which give excellent preservation of histology, and DIG-labeled probes that are visualized by immuno-detection and alkaline-phosphatase colorimetric reaction. This protocol has been successfully applied to a number of tissues from a wide range of plant species, and can be used to analyze expression of mRNAs as well as small RNAs(8-14).

Item Type: Paper
Uncontrolled Keywords: biosynthesis; chemistry; gene expression; genetics; in situ hybridization; metabolism; methodology; plant; transgenic plant
Subjects: organism description > plant
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Timmermans lab
CSHL Post Doctoral Fellows
Depositing User: Matt Covey
Date: 2011
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2013 22:22
Last Modified: 02 May 2013 18:56
PMCID: PMC3308598
Related URLs:
URI: http://repository.cshl.edu/id/eprint/27141

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