Automated motion estimation of root responses to sucrose in two Arabidopsis thaliana genotypes using confocal microscopy

Nathalie Wuyts, A. Glyn Bengough, Timothy J. Roberts, Chengjin Du, M. Fraser Bransby, Stephen J. McKenna, Tracy A. Valentine

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    Root growth is a highly dynamic process influenced by genetic background and environment. This paper reports the development of R scripts that enable root growth kinematic analysis that complements a new motion analysis tool: PlantVis. Root growth of Arabidopsis thaliana expressing a plasma membrane targeted GFP (C24 and Columbia 35S:LTI6b-EGFP) was imaged using time-lapse confocal laser scanning microscopy. Displacement of individual pixels in the time-lapse sequences was estimated automatically by PlantVis, producing dense motion vector fields. R scripts were developed to extract kinematic growth parameters and report displacement to +/- 0.1 pixel. In contrast to other currently available tools, Plantvis-R delivered root velocity profiles without interpolation or averaging across the root surface and also estimated the uncertainty associated with tracking each pixel. The PlantVis-R analysis tool has a range of potential applications in root physiology and gene expression studies, including linking motion to specific cell boundaries and analysis of curvature. The potential for quantifying genotype 9 environment interactions was examined by applying PlantVis-R in a kinematic analysis of root growth of C24 and Columbia, under contrasting carbon supply. Large genotype-dependent effects of sucrose were recorded. C24 exhibited negligible differences in elongation zone length and elongation rate but doubled the density of lateral roots in the presence of sucrose. Columbia, in contrast, increased its elongation zone length and doubled its elongation rate and the density of lateral roots.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)769-784
    Number of pages16
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


    • Cell expansion
    • Confocal laser scanning microscopy
    • Digital image analysis
    • Motion estimation
    • Root meristem
    • Sucrose
    • Particle image velocimetry
    • Cell division
    • Elongation zone
    • Meristem size
    • Growth rate
    • Quantification
    • Dynamics
    • Auxin
    • Acceleration
    • Resolution


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