Week-long imaging of cell divisions in the Arabidopsis root meristem

Ramin Rahni, Kenneth D. Birnbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Characterizing the behaviors of dynamic systems requires capturing them with high temporal and spatial resolution. Owing to its transparency and genetic tractability, the Arabidopsis thaliana root lends itself well to live imaging when combined with cell and tissue-specific fluorescent reporters. We developed a novel 4D imaging method that utilizes simple confocal microscopy and readily available components to track cell divisions in the root stem cell niche and surrounding region for up to 1 week. Results: Using this method, we performed a direct measurement of cell division intervals within and around the root stem cell niche. The results reveal a short, steep gradient of cell division rates in proximal stem cells, with progressively more rapid cell division rates from quiescent center (QC), to cells in direct contact with the QC (initials), to their immediate daughters, after which division rates appear to become more homogeneous. Conclusions: These results provide a baseline to study how perturbations in signaling could affect cell division patterns in the root meristem. This new setup further allows us to finely analyze meristematic cell division rates that lead to patterning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number30
JournalPlant Methods
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 25 2019


  • Cell division
  • Confocal
  • Development
  • Live imaging
  • QC
  • Root
  • Stem cells
  • Time lapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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