The success or failure of the establishment of an infection of a plant by a pathogen depends on an early cascade of molecular interactions between the plant and the pathogen in the initially infected cells. However, the molecular players involved in this process are difficult to identify; this is because of the dilution effect when whole tissues, organs or even the whole plant is used to study the early establishment of the infection.
To study the early events of virus infection in plants, avoid dilution effects and thus to obtain the most meaningful information, our group uses the MMi Cellcut microdissection system to dissect the first virus-infected plant cells during virus-plant interactions. The collected material is subsequently used in transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic studies at single cell resolution.
At the tissue level, we are able to successfully excise phloem tissue with our MMi Cellcut (see video below) and perform omics with the collected samples. This approach helps us to understand the mechanisms behind the restriction of some viruses to the phloem tissue.
At the subcellular level, the MMi Cellcut system enables us to select and investigate even organelles such as single infected plant nuclei and hence helps to answer questions such as e.g. why some viruses require nuclear passages of viral components to successfully complete the infection cycle.
For some of our microdissection experiments such as phloem tissue dissection, we use our CryoStar™ NX50 Kryostat to obtain thin sections of frozen tissue.
In addition to the MMi Cellcut, our equipment includes a CellEctor (see video below) which uses capillaries to collect single-celled microorganisms such as protists or bacteria and protoplasts to start pure cultures or to use them for further omics analysis.