The transient gene expression system using Arabidopsis mesophyll protoplasts has proven an important and versatile tool for conducting cell-based experiments using molecular, cellular, biochemical, genetic, genomic and proteomic approaches to analyze the functions of diverse signaling pathways and cellular machineries. A well-established protocol that has been extensively tested and applied in numerous experiments is presented here. The method includes protoplast isolation, PEG-calcium transfection of plasmid DNA and protoplast culture. Physiological responses and high-throughput capability enable facile and cost-effective explorations as well as hypothesis-driven tests. The protoplast isolation and DNA transfection procedures take 6-8 h, and the results can be obtained in 2-24 h. The cell system offers reliable guidelines for further comprehensive analysis of complex regulatory mechanisms in whole-plant physiology, immunity, growth and development.