Live Imaging of the Shoot Apical Meristem of Intact, Soil-Grown, Flowering Arabidopsis Plants

Bio Protoc. 2024 Jun 20;14(12):e5015. doi: 10.21769/BioProtoc.5015.


All aerial organs in plants originate from the shoot apical meristem, a specialized tissue at the tip of a plant, enclosing a few stem cells. Understanding developmental dynamics within this tissue in relation to internal and external stimuli is of crucial importance. Imaging the meristem at the cellular level beyond very early stages requires the apex to be detached from the plant body, a procedure that does not allow studies in living, intact plants over longer periods. This protocol describes a new confocal microscopy method with the potential to image the shoot apical meristem of an intact, soil-grown, flowering Arabidopsis plant over several days. The setup opens new avenues to study apical stem cells, their interconnection with the whole plant, and their responses to environmental stimuli. Key features • Novel dissection and imaging method of the shoot apical meristem of Arabidopsis. • Procedure performed with intact, soil-grown, flowering plants. • Possibility of long-term live imaging of the shoot apical meristem. • Protocol can be adapted to different plant species.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; Confocal microscopy; In vivo imaging; Plant stem cells; Shoot apical meristem.