Isolation of a strong Arabidopsis guard cell promoter and its potential as a research tool
© Yang et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2008
Received: 20 November 2007
Accepted: 19 February 2008
Published: 19 February 2008
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© Yang et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2008
Received: 20 November 2007
Accepted: 19 February 2008
Published: 19 February 2008
A common limitation in guard cell signaling research is that it is difficult to obtain consistent high expression of transgenes of interest in Arabidopsis guard cells using known guard cell promoters or the constitutive 35S cauliflower mosaic virus promoter. An additional drawback of the 35S promoter is that ectopically expressing a gene throughout the organism could cause pleiotropic effects. To improve available methods for targeted gene expression in guard cells, we isolated strong guard cell promoter candidates based on new guard cell-specific microarray analyses of 23,000 genes that are made available together with this report.
A promoter, pGC1(At1g22690), drove strong and relatively specific reporter gene expression in guard cells including GUS (beta-glucuronidase) and yellow cameleon YC3.60 (GFP-based calcium FRET reporter). Reporter gene expression was weaker in immature guard cells. The expression of YC3.60 was sufficiently strong to image intracellular Ca2+ dynamics in guard cells of intact plants and resolved spontaneous calcium transients in guard cells. The GC1 promoter also mediated strong reporter expression in clustered stomata in the stomatal development mutant too-many-mouths (tmm). Furthermore, the same promoter::reporter constructs also drove guard cell specific reporter expression in tobacco, illustrating the potential of this promoter as a method for high level expression in guard cells. A serial deletion of the promoter defined a guard cell expression promoter region. In addition, anti-sense repression using pGC1 was powerful for reducing specific GFP gene expression in guard cells while expression in leaf epidermal cells was not repressed, demonstrating strong cell-type preferential gene repression.
The pGC1 promoter described here drives strong reporter expression in guard cells of Arabidopsis and tobacco plants. It provides a potent research tool for targeted guard cell expression or gene silencing. It is also applicable to reduce specific gene expression in guard cells, providing a method for circumvention of limitations arising from genetic redundancy and lethality. These advances could be very useful for manipulating signaling pathways in guard cells and modifying plant performance under stress conditions. In addition, new guard cell and mesophyll cell-specific 23,000 gene microarray data are made publicly available here.
Stomata are located on the leaf surface and are the main conduit for water transpiration and CO2 influx into leaves. The stomatal aperture is regulated by multiple physiological factors such as light, CO2, and plant hormones including abscisic acid (ABA) [1–5]. These stimuli regulate the stomatal aperture by affecting the cellular activities of the two adjacent guard cells, which form the stomata.
Many genes are important for guard cell function as demonstrated by forward genetic screens and reverse genetic functional analyses. To improve plant performance under stress conditions, manipulating gene function specifically in guard cells offers advantages over manipulation at the whole plant level. For example, a dominant mutation or a knock out mutation in an essential gene at the whole plant level might be lethal. This problem could be avoided by expressing the mutated gene or silencing the specific gene in guard cells only. Secondary messengers, such as calcium, reactive oxygen species, inositol phosphates, and sphingolipids, have been shown to play a critical role in guard cell signaling [6–11]. Molecular reporters for some of these secondary messengers have been developed and used in mammalian cell biology, such as yellow cameleon (YC) for calcium  and Hyper for H2O2 . Several calcium reporters have been used for studies in plant biology, including indo-1, fura-2, aequorin, and yellow cameleon [14–19]. Single cell imaging of second messengers in intact plants could provide an approach to analyze second messengers within the leaf and plant context. Intact plant imaging of single cells requires specific reporter gene expression in target cells with low background in the surrounding cells.
The widely used constitutive 35S cauliflower mosaic virus promoter drives expression of an interested gene in most parts of the plant . The 35S promoter can also drive gene expression in guard cells [15, 21–23]. One copy of the 35S promoter, however, often drives weak expression in guard cells while two tandem 35S promoters provides approximately two-fold higher expression [21, 22]. In addition, gene expression driven by the 35S promoter is not always uniform in guard cells even in the same leaf. Furthermore, gene expression in many different T-DNA insertion mutant lines using the 35S promoter has proven to show an exceedingly low success rate for reporter detection in guard cells for unknown reasons (J.M. Kwak, G.A. Allen and I.M. Mori unpublished observation).
The KST1 promoter can drive reporter gene expression in guard cells and flowers in potato . But the KST1 promoter has not been used widely in research to drive specific expression in Arabidopsis or other plant guard cells. In Arabidopsis, the KAT1 promoter drives primarily reporter gene expression in guard cells though the expression of the reporter was also observed in the root vascular tissue in some transgenic plants . Furthermore, the KAT1 promoter is not sufficiently strong for high-level expression or repression in guard cells.
Here we used a guard cell specific microarray-based approach to analyze putative strong guard cell specific promoters. One candidate promoter, pGC1 (At1g22690), drove very strong expression of reporter genes (GUS and GFP-based calcium reporter) in guard cells of both Arabidopsis and tobacco. Specific gene suppression in guard cells was also achieved by pGC1 driving antisense repression.
We analyzed GC1 (At1g22690) gene expression in response to different treatments in the microarray data compiled by Genevestigator [27, 29]. Among 96 treatments, 8 treatments affected At1g22690 expression more than two fold. Salt and osmotic stress dramatically deceased At1g22690 gene expression (more than 10 fold) . Meanwhile, light, ABA, GA, cold or drought did not induce more than a two-fold change in gene expression of At1g22690. This suggests that GC1 (At1g22690) has a relatively constant expression under most common situations.
We further examined whether the GC1 promoter could drive guard cell specific reporter expression in a guard cell development mutant, too many mouths (tmm) . The tmm mutant was transformed with either the pGC1::GUS or the pGC1::YC3.60 construct. GUS staining showed reporter gene expression in clustered stomata (Figure 3L). Similarly, GFP expression was observed in clustered stomata in tmm plants transformed with pGC1::YC3.60 (Figure 3M).
To test if the GC1 promoter can drive guard cell specific reporter gene expression in plants besides Arabidopsis, we also transformed pGC1::YC3.60 into tobacco plants. Interestingly, strong guard cell GFP expression was observed in tobacco leaves (Figure 3N).
Many physiological stimuli in plant cells induce changes in the intracellular calcium concentration. Calcium acts as a secondary messenger in many signal transduction cascades . Cytosolic calcium concentrations can be monitored either by chemical reporters such as the ratiometric Ca2+-sensitive fluorescent dye fura-2 [34, 35], the genetically encoded calcium sensitive luminescent protein aequorin  or the fluorescent ratiometric calcium reporter yellow cameleon [12, 15, 36]. Stomatal closing signals, such as ABA and CO2, have been shown to induce calcium elevations in guard cells [16, 18, 19, 37–42]. Spontaneous calcium transients in leaf epidermal samples have also been observed without any ABA treatment [15, 43, 44]. It is not clear whether spontaneous calcium transients occur in guard cells in intact plants as fura-2 injected Vicia faba guard cells did not show such transients . A new generation calcium indicator, yellow cameleon, YC3.60, shows an enhanced calcium-dependent change in the ratio of YFP/CFP by nearly 600% compared with yellow cameleon 2.1 . By combining the GC1 promoter with YC3.60, pGC1::YC3.60, as described before, we could observe strong guard cell expression of the YC3.60 in intact leaves, hypocotyls, and sepals (Figure 3).
Summary of calcium imaging in guard cells of intact pGC1::YC3.60 transgenic Arabidopsis plants.
GCs with Spontaneous Ca2+ transients
We report the identification of a strong Arabidopsis guard cell promoter, pGC1. Promoter::reporter fusion analyses showed strong guard cell specific reporter gene expression in wild-type Arabidopsis plants and the guard cell development mutant, too many mouths  and also tobacco plants. Serial deletions of the GC1 promoter defined regions for guard cell expression. Calcium imaging in guard cells in intact plants was made possible via the combination of the GC1 promoter and a new generation of calcium reporter, YC3.60 . The GC1 promoter was also powerful for knocking down specific gene expression in guard cells using an antisense approach.
As the central regulator of water transpiration and CO2 uptake, guard cells have been developed as an integrative model system to investigate interplay among ion channel/transporter activities, light, plant hormones, secondary messengers, the cytoskeleton and membrane trafficking in regulating the physiological output: the stomatal aperture [2, 4, 5, 47, 48]. Several guard cell promoters have been reported. The KAT1(At5g46240) promoter delivered specific reporter expression in guard cells even though it sometimes induced reporter expression in other cells and tissues such as roots and inflorescences . AtMYB60 (At1g08810) also showed specific expression in guard cells based on promoter::GUS and promoter::GFP study . AtMYB61(At1g09540) has also been shown to be mainly expressed in guard cells . Based on our guard cell-specific microarray data, we estimated the average transcription levels in Figure 1 and additional file 9. The AtMYB61 gene expression signal was the lowest among these genes. In the case of KAT1, its expression in guard cells was much higher than that in mesophyll cells. But its raw signal was approximately 5 to 10 fold lower than that of GC1. AtMYB6 0 also exhibited highly guard cell specific expression compared with its expression in mesophyll cells. However, the raw signal of AtMYB60 was only approximately one third of that of GC1. Furthermore, AtMYB60 is also highly expressed in seeds based on Genevestigator microarray analyses [27, 29, 51–54]. Similarly, RAB18 (At5g66400) is also highly expressed in seeds besides its strong expression in guard cells. pGC1 drove very strong and specific reporter gene expression in guard cells (expression is very low in non-leaf tissues/organs), although reporter gene expression was observed in epidermal cells in some plants transformed with the pGC1::YC3.60 (data not shown). In summary, the GC1 promoter is a very strong guard cell promoter among those analyzed.
Our current study with intact Arabidopsis plants using the genetically encoded calcium reporter YC3.60 driven by the GC1 promoter showed that spontaneous calcium transients occurred in guard cells in intact Arabidopsis plants. This is consistent with previous observations of spontaneous calcium transients in Arabidopsis guard cells [15, 43, 44]. However, the mechanisms causing spontaneous calcium transients are not yet characterized in depth. Several lines of evidence suggest a connection between hyperpolarization of the guard cell plasma membrane and spontaneous calcium transients in guard cells. In experiments where membrane potential and [Ca2+]cyt were measured simultaneously, hyperpolarization caused ABA-induced [Ca2+]cyt increases. Maintaining guard cells in a more hyperpolarized state produced spontaneous [Ca2+]cyt oscillations in Vicia faba guard cells , in a sub-population of Commelina guard cells  and in Arabidopsis guard cells . Calcium imaging analyses in intact Arabidopsis plants using pGC1::YC3.60 show that spontaneous calcium transients also occur in intact plants. These spontaneous Ca2+ transients may also be the result of integrated signaling by multiple stimuli converging in guard cells, such as light conditions, CO2 and water balance. In Vicia faba no spontaneous calcium transients were observed in guard cells in intact plants . In this case fura-2 (ca. 100 μM) was injected into guard cells. High concentrations of fura-2 may inhibit spontaneous calcium elevations, as loading the close fura-2 analogue, BAPTA, into Arabidopsis guard cells effectively inhibits these calcium transients . By contrast, the estimated yellow cameleon concentration in guard cells of pGC1::YC3.60 transgenic plants was approximately 1 μM (see Methods). The lower concentration of yellow cameleon should interfere less with guard cell calcium homeostasis and could monitor more faithfully calcium concentration dynamics. Note that low concentrations of injected fura-2 also allowed resolution of repetitive calcium transients in guard cells [38, 39]. Note that BAPTA-derived fluorescent dyes such as fura-2 and indo-1 have certain complementary advantages to cameleon, as they can be loaded into cells that are not easily transformed  and these dyes can report rapid millisecond scale Ca2+ transients that occur in neurons, but have presently not yet been reported in plants using fura-2 or indo-1.
Circadian calcium oscillations at the whole plant leaf level with a daily rhythm have been demonstrated by several groups using aequorin as the calcium reporter [57–59]. Most likely this circadian calcium oscillation results from synchronous changes in baseline cytosolic calcium in a cell population . As the circadian calcium oscillation is related to the baseline of intracellular calcium, the rapid spontaneous calcium transients in individual guard cells likely would be filtered from circadian calcium measurements . Repetitive calcium transients may reflect functions that include continuous calcium homeostasis between extracellular calcium, cytoplasmic calcium, and intracellular calcium stores. Spontaneous calcium transients in guard cells also correlate with the recent proposed calcium sensor priming hypothesis for calcium specificity in signaling, in which the stomatal closing signals ABA and CO2 are proposed to prime (de-inactivate) calcium sensitive steps that mediate stomatal closing [44, 61].
(T/A)AAAG, a binding motif for Dof zinc finger transcription factors, has been suggested to play a critical role for guard-cell specific expression of KST1 promoter activity in potato based on block mutagenesis . However, the putative promoter regions (1800 bp before ATG start codon) for AtACT7 (At5g09810), KAT1 (At5g46240), RAB18 (At5g66400), AtMYB60 (At1g08810), AtMYB61 (At1g09540) and GC1 (At1g22690) all contain a similar number of Dof factor binding motifs, the (T/A)AAAG elements, even though some of them do not show guard cell expression preference (see additional file 12). AtMYB61, which showed low expression in guard cells (Figure 1), contains 29 (T/A)AAAG elements in its putative promoter region, while the AtACT7 promoter contains 23 (T/A)AAAG elements. Promoter truncation suggests that the region from -861bp to -224 bp in the GC1 promoter contains elements for guard cell specific promoter activity (Figure 4). This region contains 8 (T/A)AAAG elements. However, block mutagenesis of the central TAAAG motif on the sense strand (marked by a star in Figure 4B) in this region did not affect reporter expression in guard cells (data not shown). Thus the (T/A)AAAG element alone may not explain why GC1 and other guard cell-specific genes exhibited guard cell-specific expression.
In this report, we pursued microarray (ATH1) analyses of guard cell expressed genes and used the information to isolate and characterize a strong guard cell promoter, pGC1. We analyzed the potential of pGC1 as a tool for manipulating gene expression in guard cells. The GC1 promoter was used to test several experimental manipulations. The GC1 promoter was used to express the calcium reporter YC3.60 in guard cells. This enabled us to perform calcium imaging experiments in guard cells of intact Arabidopsis plants. Our previous research has shown that for T-DNA insertional mutants, hundreds of transformants often needed to be generated to obtain at best a few lines expressing a reporter gene in guard cells when using the 35S promoter. Use of the GC1 promoter provides a method to dramatically increase the success rate of reporter gene expression. Furthermore, guard cell-specific antisense GFP expression using the GC1 promoter efficiently silenced GFP expression in guard cells of 35S::GFP transgenic plants. These data and the high transformation efficiency together suggest that the GC1 promoter provides a powerful tool for manipulating the expression of guard cell signaling components and for expressing reporters of diverse secondary messengers. Thus the GC1 promoter provides a method to enhance monitoring of signaling events in guard cells in response to different treatments and to study whole plant responses in guard cell specific transgenic mutants.
Arabidopsis thaliana (Columbia ecotype) plants were used for transformation experiments unless otherwise specified. The 35S::GFP transgenic line was generated for a previous study . The guard cell development mutant, too many mouths, was a kind gift from Dr. Fred Sack at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
Plant growth, ABA treatment, guard cell protoplast isolation, and RNA extraction were performed as previously described . Affymetrix Arabidopsis ATH1 genome arrays (Santa Clara, CA) were used, representing approximately 23,000 genes. Transcripts were amplified, labeled, and hybridized at the University of California, San Diego Gene Chip Core facility. For each condition (with or without ABA treatment, guard cell or mesophyll cell), two independent hybridizations were performed. Transcriptional inhibitors (33 mg/L actinomycin D and 100 mg/L cordycepin) were added during protoplast isolation for RNA samples for four chip hybridizations as described . ATH1 microarray data were deposited at MIAMExpress  with an accession number E-MEXP-1443 and also on our laboratory's website for public downloading (see Additional files 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8).
To amplify the GC1 (At1g22690) promoter from the Col genomic DNA by PCR, primers YZ27 (5'-CATGCCATGG atttcttgagtagtgattttgaag-3', right before the ATG start codon with NcoI site) and YZ28 (5'-ACGCGTCGAC gagtaaagattcagtaacccg-3', 1693 bp upstream of the transcriptional start (Figure 2) with SalI site) were utilized. The PCR product was cloned into pGEM-Teasy vector (Invitrogen, Carlsbad, CA) to create pGEM-T-pGC1.
To clone the GC1 promoter into the pBI101 vector, pGEM-T-pGC1 was first cut by NcoI. The sticky end was then filled-in by T4 DNA polymerase (New England BioLabs) to create a blunt end. The pGC1 fragment was then released by SalI digestion. Meanwhile, the destination vector, pBI101, was cut sequentially by SmaI and SalI. The pGC1 fragment was then inserted upstream of the GUS reporter gene in the pBI101 vector to create pBI101-pGC1::GUS construct (simplified as pGC1::GUS).
To create the 5'-deletion series of the pGC1 promoter, primer YZ27 was used with primers YZ159 (5'-GCGTCGAC atggttgcaacagagaggatga-3', 1141 bp upstream of the transcriptional start, D1), YZ160 (5'-GCGTCGAC ctaatgaagggtgccgcttattg-3', 861 bp upstream of the transcriptional start, D2), YZ161 (5'-GCGTCGACcaatattgcgtctgcgtttcct-3', 466 bp upstream of the transcriptional start, D3) and YZ162 (5'-GCGTCGACgaaccaatcaaaactgtttgcata-3', 224 bp upstream of the transcriptional start, D4) respectively for genomic PCR to amplify pGC1(D1), pGC1(D2), pGC1(D3) and pGC1(D4) respectively (Figure 4). The PCR fragments were then cloned into pGEM-T-easy vector and then subcloned into pBI101 vector to create pBI101-pGC1(D1)::GUS, pBI101-pGC1(D2)::GUS, pBI101-pGC1(D3)::GUS, and pBI101-pGC1(D4)::GUS.
To create pBI101-pGC1::YC3.60 construct, YC3.60 was first released from pcDNA3-YC3.60  by EcoRI/BamHI double digestion. Then the BamHI-5'-YC3.60-3'-EcoRI fragment was cloned into pSK vector (prepared by EcoRI and BamHI digestion) to create pSK-YC3.60 construct. The pSK-YC3.60 was then digested with NotI and NcoI to receive NotI-5'-pGC1-3'-NcoI fragment from pGEM-T-pGC1. This ligation resulted in the pSK-pGC1::YC3.60. The pGC1::YC3.60 fragment was released by SalI/SacI double digestion, meanwhile the pBI101 vector was digested with SalI/SacI to remove the GUS reporter gene. The pBI101(SalI/SacI) was ligated with SalI-5'-pGC1::YC3.60-3'-SacI to create pBI101-pGC1::YC3.60 construct.
To create pGreenII 0179-pGC1(D1)::anti-GFP binary vector with hygromycin selective marker in plant, the 35S terminator was amplified with YZ439 (5'-AAGAGATCTATCTAGA GTCCGCAA-3', with XbaI) and YZ440 (5'-GCACGCTCGAGCTC gtcactggattttggttttagg-3', with SacI site) from vector pAVA319 . The PCR product was then subsequently digested with XbaI and SacI. The 5'-XbaI-35S terminator-SacI-3' was ligated into pGreenII 0179-XabI...SacI to create pGreenII 0179-terminator. The pGC1(D1) was released from pGEM-T-pGC1(D1) by NotI digestion, then filled-in, then cut by SalI to create 5'-SalI-pGC1(D1)-NotI(filled-in blunt end). Meanwhile, the pGreenII 0179-terminator was doubled digested with SalI and EcoRV. These two fragments were ligated to generate pGreenII 0179-pGCP(D1)-terminator vector. The antisense GFP was amplified with primers YZ449 (5'-ACATGCCATGG ttacttgtacagctcgtccatgcc-3', reverse end of GFP with NcoI) and YZ513 (5'-ctagTCTAGA atg gtgagcaagggcgagg-3', start of GFP with XbaI). The PCR fragment was double digested with NcoI and XbaI. The pGreenII 0179-pGC1(D1)-Terminator was also double digested with NcoI and XbaI. The pGeenII 0179-pGC1(D1)-Terminator fragment was ligated with 5'-NcoI -anti-GFP-XbaI-3' to produce pGeenII 0179-pGC1(D1)::anti-GFP binary construct.
The central TAAAG motif (-579-->-575) on the sense stand was changed to CGGGA by block mutagenesis using the QuickChange Site-Directed Mutagenesis Kit from Stratagene (La Jolla, California).
The binary constructs, pBI101-pGC1::YC3.60, pBI101-pGC1::GUS, pBI101-pGC1(D1)::GUS, pBI101-pGC1(D2)::GUS, pBI101-pGC1(D3)::GUS and pBI101-pGC1(D4)::GUS were transformed into the Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain GV3101 by electroporation. The transformants were selected on LB plates with both kanamycin (selective marker for the construct) and gentamycin (selective marker for the Agrobacterium). Arabidopsis plants were then transformed by Agrobacterium GV3101 hosting respective constructs following the dipping method as described by Clough and Bent . The T0 seeds were selected on 1/2 MS plates with 50 μg/ml kanamycin.
In the case of pGreenII 0179-pGC1(D1)::anti-GFP, the GV3101 with the helper plasmid pSOUP was used as the host strain, and the selection for Agrobacterium transformants was carried on LB plates with Kanamycin, gentamycin, and tetracyclin. This was used to transform 35S::GFP transgenic plants (kanamycin resistant). The T0 seeds were selected on 1/2 MS plates with 25 μg/ml hygromycin (Roche).
Seedlings were stained following a previously described protocol .
Transgenic Arabidopsis seedlings or sepals of pBI101-pGC1::YC3.60 were simply placed between a microscope slide and a cover glass. A Nikon digital camera was attached to the microscope. Exposure time for the bright image is 5 seconds and 15–25 seconds for fluorescence image (excitation wavelength is 440 nm). For 35S::GFP plants and 35S::GFP plants transformed with pGreenII 0179-pGC1(D1)::anti-GFP, intact leaf epidermis were used for epi-fluorescence image acquisition.
In vitro sterile shoot cultures of Nicotiana tabacum cv. SR1 were maintained on 1/2 MS agar medium containing 15 g/l sucrose. The pH was adjusted to 5.5 before autoclaving. The tobacco culture was grown at 25°C, with a light/dark cycle of 16/8 h (light intensity was approximately 70 μmol m-2 s-1). Stable transformation of Nicotiana tabacum SR1 with pBI101-pGC1-YC3.60 was performed as described previously . Transgenic regenerated tobacco shoots were selected by kanamycin (100 μg/ml) resistance and were then transferred on 1/2 MS agar medium containing 15 g/l sucrose supplemented with kanamycin (100 μg/ml) and cefotaxime (200 μg/ml). T1 regenerated plants, which were able to set up root organogenesis in presence of kanamycin, were then analyzed for cameleon expression.
The tobacco leaves of plant transformed with pBI101-pGC1-YC3.60 were observed with a Leica TCS SP2 laser confocal microscope (Leica Microsystems). For cameleon detection, excitation was at 514 nm and emission between 525 and 540 nm. The images acquired from the confocal microscope were processed using Image J .
All calcium imaging in this work was performed with a TE300 inverted microscope using a TE-FM Epi-Fluorescence attachment (Nikon Inc. Melville, NY). Excitation from a 75 W Xenon lamp (Osram, Germany) was always attenuated 97% by using both 4× and 8× neutral density filters (3% transmission) to reduce bleaching of reporters during time-resolved imaging. Wavelength specificity was obtained with a cameleon filter set (440/20 excitation, 485/40 emission1, 535/30 emission2, 455DCLP dichroic; filter set 71007a Chroma Technology, Rockingham, VT). Filter wheel, shutter and CoolSNAP CCD camera from Photomerics (Roper Scientific, Germany) were controlled with Metafluor software (MDS, Inc., Toronto, Canada).
Intact leaf epidermes of pGC1::YC3.60 transgenic plants were prepared for microscopy as described in Mori et al. (2006) . On the microscope, intact epidermis was perfused with depolarization buffer (10 mM MES-Tris buffer, pH 6.1 containing 25 mM dipotassium imminodiacetate, and 100 μM BAPTA) for 10 minutes to obtain a background. Subsequently hyperpolarizing buffer containing Ca2+ (10 mM MES-Tris buffer, pH 6.1, 1 mM dipotassium imminodiacetate, and 1 mM CaCl2) was applied for 2 minutes intervals, followed by 5 minutes of depolarizing buffer.
Both intact leaves and intact plants were used in this study. Medical adhesive (Hollister Inc., Libertyville, IL) was used to attach leaves to microscope cover glasses. A paintbrush was used to gently press the leaf to the coverslip. In the case of intact plants two different methods were followed. The first method was to submerge only the root with water while the shoot was left in air. The second method was to completely submerge entire seedlings in water. Sometimes submerging only the root but not the shoot caused the leaf attached to the cover slip to show wilting in less than 10 minutes with subsequent closure of the stomata. Most of the intact plant imaging experiments were therefore carried out by submerging both the shoot (leaves) and the root in water. The submersion of the entire plant prevented the leaf from drying out and no stomatal closure was observed for more than 50 minutes. The imaging protocol was the same as in Mori et al., 2006 .
Recombinant yellow cameleon protein was isolated after expression in E coli. Recombinant cameleon protein was then added at defined concentrations to a glass cover slip for fluorescence imaging. Then two additional cover slips were used to create a slanted gradient of cameleon solution thicknesses. This enabled analysis of various solution thicknesses in the range of stomatal guard cell thicknesses. Diluted yellow cameleon protein solutions at different concentrations were analyzed and the florescence intensity was measured for each concentration at various thicknesses. Calibration curves were generated for protein concentrations and florescent intensities at different thicknesses. This was utilized to estimate the yellow cameleon protein concentration in guard cells of pGC1::YC3.6 transgenic plants.
This work was supported by NSF MCB0417118 and NIH R01GM060396 grants to JIS. YY was supported by a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award fellowship (5F32GM071104).
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