Plant Immunity pp 283-291 | Cite as

Visualizing Cellular Dynamics in Plant–Microbe Interactions Using Fluorescent-Tagged Proteins

  • William Underwood
  • Serry Koh
  • Shauna C. Somerville
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 712)


Interactions between plant cells and microbial pathogens involve highly dynamic processes of cellular trafficking and reorganization. Substantial advances in imaging technologies, including the discovery and widespread use of fluorescent proteins as tags as well as advances in laser-based confocal microscopy have provided the first glimpses of the dynamic nature of the processes of defense and pathogenicity. Prior to the development of these techniques, high resolution imaging by electron microscopy gave only a static picture of these dynamic events and live cell imaging was significantly limited in resolution as well as the availability of relevant stains and markers. The incorporation of fluorescent protein fusions and laser-based confocal microscopy into studies of plant–microbe interactions has opened the door to fascinating new questions about the cellular response to attempted infection. Additionally, studies of cellular responses to pathogen infection may lead to new knowledge about fundamental processes in plant cells, such as mechanisms underlying subcellular trafficking and targeting of proteins and other molecules.

Key words

Plant Pathogen Confocal microscopy GFP Powdery mildew Fluorescent protein Microbe 



We thank Candice Cherk, Shundai Li, Charlie Anderson, and Ian Wallace for critical reading of the manuscript. This work was supported in part by an NSF grant (Award # 01519898) and funding from the Carnegie Institution of Science to S.C.S. and by a NIH postdoctoral fellowship (F32-GM0834393) to W.U. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences or the National Institutes of Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Underwood
    • 1
  • Serry Koh
    • 2
  • Shauna C. Somerville
    • 3
  1. 1.Energy Biosciences InstituteUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Plant Systems Engineering Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and BiotechnologyDaejeonRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, Energy Biosciences InstituteUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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