GLO-Roots: an imaging platform enabling multidimensional characterization of soil-grown root systems

Elife. 2015 Aug 19;4:e07597. doi: 10.7554/eLife.07597.


Root systems develop different root types that individually sense cues from their local environment and integrate this information with systemic signals. This complex multi-dimensional amalgam of inputs enables continuous adjustment of root growth rates, direction, and metabolic activity that define a dynamic physical network. Current methods for analyzing root biology balance physiological relevance with imaging capability. To bridge this divide, we developed an integrated-imaging system called Growth and Luminescence Observatory for Roots (GLO-Roots) that uses luminescence-based reporters to enable studies of root architecture and gene expression patterns in soil-grown, light-shielded roots. We have developed image analysis algorithms that allow the spatial integration of soil properties, gene expression, and root system architecture traits. We propose GLO-Roots as a system that has great utility in presenting environmental stimuli to roots in ways that evoke natural adaptive responses and in providing tools for studying the multi-dimensional nature of such processes.

Keywords: Brachypodium distachyon; Lycopersicon esculentum; arabidopsis; imaging systems; plant biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Genes, Reporter
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Luminescence
  • Optical Imaging / methods*
  • Plant Roots / growth & development*
  • Soil*


  • Soil