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A Comparative Study of Sample Preparation for Staining and Immunodetection of Plant Cell Walls by Light Microscopy


Staining and immunodetection by light microscopy are methods widely used to investigate plant cell walls. The two techniques have been crucial to study the cell wall architecture in planta, its deconstruction by chemicals or cell wall-degrading enzymes. They have been instrumental in detecting the presence of cell types, in deciphering plant cell wall evolution and in characterizing plant mutants and transformants. The success of immunolabeling relies on how plant materials are embedded and sectioned. Agarose coating, wax and resin embedding are, respectively, associated with vibratome, microtome and ultramicrotome sectioning. Here, we have systematically carried out a comparative analysis of these three methods of sample preparation when they are applied for cell wall staining and cell wall immunomicroscopy. In order to help the plant community in understanding and selecting adequate methods of embedding and sectioning for cell wall immunodetection, we review in this article the advantages and limitations of these three methods. Moreover, we offer detailed protocols of embedding for studying plant materials through microscopy.

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