Plant Tissue for Research
Today, let’s dive into the world of plant tissue research! Did you know that methods and techniques for studying plant and animal tissue are often similar? To examine proteins on the microscopic level, processes to get tissue slices include dehydration, fixation, and embedding for immunohistochemical analyses. But sometimes, these steps are not suitable or are too harsh. In such cases, fresh plant tissue is needed.
Making Plant Tissue Slices
The old fashioned method of free-hand sectioning of plant tissue has been performed for a very long time. Free-hand sectioning is done with razor blades, but this is difficult to apply to plant samples that are hard to hold or manipulate. Vibratomes or vibrating microtomes can be an excellent tool for cutting plant tissue sections, and these machines help generate high quality thin sections without the need to fix or freeze plant samples.
In this book chapter publication by Drs. Mohamed M. Mira, Edward C. Yeung, and Claudio Stasolla, the team describes a simple guide to use for cutting plant slices with the Compresstome for research. Here, they summarize how to use the Compresstome vibrating microtome to embed a plant sample:
Next, they are able to cut thin fresh plant tissue slices, which are then placed onto a glass slide for further experimental treatments. They are able to then visualize proteins as GFP signals in samples like corn roots.
They remark that:
“The use of the vibratome is convenient; it does not require special blades. Most importantly, it is effective on fresh tissues without pretreatment, such as fixation and dehydration that might cause artifacts typical of cryo- or paraffin-embedded sections. Vibratome sections preserve good structural and ultrastructural characteristics, and adjustments to the vibrating razor blades in terms of speed and vibration amplitude permit the user to optimize sectioning on diverse types of specimens.”