The RootScope: A Simple High-Throughput Screening System For Quantitating Gene Expression Dynamics In Plant Roots

Erin James Kast 15, Swarthmore College
Minh-Duyen Thi Nguyen 13, Swarthmore College
Rosalie Estelle Lawrence 12, Swarthmore College
C. Rabeler
Nicholas J. Kaplinsky, Swarthmore College

This work is freely available courtesy of the BioMed Central.


Background: High temperature stress responses are vital for plant survival. The mechanisms that plants use to sense high temperatures are only partially understood and involve multiple sensing and signaling pathways. Here we describe the development of the RootScope, an automated microscopy system for quantitating heat shock responses in plant roots.Results: The promoter of Hsp17.6 was used to build a Hsp17.6(p):GFP transcriptional reporter that is induced by heat shock in Arabidopsis. An automated fluorescence microscopy system which enables multiple roots to be imaged in rapid succession was used to quantitate Hsp17.6p: GFP response dynamics. Hsp17.6(p):GFP signal increased with temperature increases from 28 degrees C to 37 degrees C. At 40 degrees C the kinetics and localization of the response are markedly different from those at 37 degrees C. This suggests that different mechanisms mediate heat shock responses above and below 37 degrees C. Finally, we demonstrate that Hsp17.6(p):GFP expression exhibits wave like dynamics in growing roots.Conclusions: The RootScope system is a simple and powerful platform for investigating the heat shock response in plants.