Two-photon imaging with longer wavelength excitation in intact Arabidopsis tissues

Protoplasma. 2015 Sep;252(5):1231-40. doi: 10.1007/s00709-014-0754-5. Epub 2015 Jan 15.


In vivo imaging of living organisms is an important tool to investigate biological phenomena. Two-photon excitation microscopy (2PEM) is a laser-scanning microscopy that provides noninvasive, deep imaging in living organisms based on the principle of multiphoton excitation. However, application of 2PEM to plant tissues has not been fully developed, as plant-specific autofluorescence, optically dense tissues, and multiple light-scattering structures diminish the clarity of imaging. In this study, the advantages of 2PEM were identified for deep imaging of living and intact Arabidopsis thaliana tissues. When compared to single-photon imaging, near-infrared 2PEM, especially at 1000 nm, reduced chloroplast autofluorescence; autofluorescence also decreased in leaves, roots, pistils, and pollen grains. For clear and deep imaging, longer excitation wavelengths using the orange fluorescent proteins (FPs) TagRFP and tdTomato gave better results than with other colors. 2PEM at 980 nm also provided multicolor imaging by simultaneous excitation, and the combination of suitable FPs and excitation wavelengths allowed deep imaging of intact cells in root tips and pistils. Our results demonstrated the importance of choosing both suitable FPs and excitation wavelengths for clear two-photon imaging. Further advances in in vivo analysis using 2PEM will facilitate more extensive studies in the plant biological sciences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / cytology*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Chlorophyll / metabolism
  • Chloroplasts / metabolism
  • Chloroplasts / ultrastructure
  • Fluorescence
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Plant Roots / metabolism
  • Plant Roots / ultrastructure
  • Pollen / metabolism
  • Pollen / ultrastructure


  • Chlorophyll