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Cutting trees with lasers : isolation of high quality RNA, enzymatically active protein and metabolites from individual tissue types of white spruce stems obtained using laser microdissection

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Title: Cutting trees with lasers : isolation of high quality RNA, enzymatically active protein and metabolites from individual tissue types of white spruce stems obtained using laser microdissection
Author: Abbott, Eric Justin
Degree Master of Science - MSc
Program Botany
Copyright Date: 2010
Publicly Available in cIRcle 2010-04-30
Abstract: Laser-assisted microdissection has been established for isolation of individual tissue types from herbaceous plants. However, there are few reports of cell- and tissue-specific analysis in woody perennials. While microdissected tissues are commonly analyzed for gene expression, reports of protein, enzyme activity and metabolite analysis are limited due in part to an inability to amplify these molecules. Conifer stem tissues are organized in a regular pattern with xylem, phloem and cortex development controlled by the activity of the cambial zone (CZ). Defense responses of conifer stems against insects and pathogens involve increased accumulation of terpenoids in cortical resin ducts (CRDs) and de novo formation of traumatic resin ducts from CZ initials. Woody plants are difficult to study at the level of individual tissues or cell-types and are thus good candidates for application of LMD. This thesis describes robust methods for isolation of individual tissue-types from white spruce (Picea glauca) stems for analysis of RNA, enzyme activity and metabolites. A tangential cryosectioning approach was important for obtaining large quantities of CRD and CZ tissues using LMD. Differential expression is reported for genes involved in terpenoid metabolism between CRD and CZ tissues and in response to treatment with methyl jasmonate (MeJA). Transcript levels of β-pinene synthase and levopimaradiene/abietadiene synthase were constitutively higher in CRDs, but induction was stronger in CZ in response to MeJA. 3-Carene synthase was more strongly induced in CRDs compared to CZ. A differential induction pattern was observed for 1-deoxyxyulose-5-phosphate synthase, which was up-regulated in CRDs and down-regulated in CZ. We identified terpene synthase enzyme activity in CZ protein extracts and terpenoid metabolites in both CRD and CZ tissues. Combined analysis of transcripts, proteins and metabolites of individual tissues will facilitate future characterization of complex processes of woody plant development, including periodic stem growth and dormancy, cell specialization, and defense and may be applied widely to other plant species.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/24249
Scholarly Level: Graduate

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