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  1. Microscopy has served as a fundamental tool for insight and discovery in plant-microbe interactions for centuries. From classical light and electron microscopy to corresponding specialized methods for sample preparation and cellular contrasting agents, these approaches have become routine components in the toolkit of plant and microbiology scientists alike to visualize, probe and understand the nature of host-microbe relationships. Over the last three decades, three-dimensional perspectives led by the development of electron tomography, and especially, confocal techniques continue to provide remarkable clarity and spatial detail of tissue and cellular phenomena. Confocal and electron microscopy provide novel revelations that are now commonplace in medium and large institutions. However, many other cutting-edge technologies and sample preparation workflows are relatively unexploited yet offer tremendous potential for unprecedented advancement in our understanding of the inner workings of pathogenic, beneficial, and symbiotic plant-microbe interactions. Here, we highlight key applications, benefits, and challenges of contemporary advanced imaging platforms for plant-microbe systems with special emphasis on several recently developed approaches, such as light-sheet, single molecule, super-resolution, and adaptive optics microscopy, as well as ambient and cryo-volume electron microscopy, X-ray microscopy, and cryo-electron tomography. Furthermore, the potential for complementary sample preparation methodologies, such as optical clearing, expansion microscopy, and multiplex imaging, will be reviewed. Our ultimate goal is to stimulate awareness of these powerful cutting-edge technologies and facilitate their appropriate application and adoption to solve important and unresolved biological questions in the field. [Formula: see text] Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the CC BY 4.0 International license . 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  2. Abstract Abscission, known as shattering in crop species, is a highly regulated process by which plants shed parts. Although shattering has been studied extensively in cereals and a number of regulatory genes have been identified, much diversity in the process remains to be discovered. Teff (Eragrostis tef) is a crop native to Ethiopia that is potentially highly valuable worldwide for its nutritious grain and drought tolerance. Previous work has suggested that grain shattering in Eragrostis might have little in common with other cereals. In this study, we characterize the anatomy, cellular structure, and gene regulatory control of the abscission zone (AZ) in E. tef. We show that the AZ of E. tef is a narrow stalk below the caryopsis, which is common in Eragrostis species. X-ray microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and immunolocalization of cell wall components showed that the AZ cells are thin walled and break open along with programmed cell death (PCD) at seed maturity, rather than separating between cells as in other studied species. Knockout of YABBY2/SHATTERING1, documented to control abscission in several cereals, had no effect on abscission or AZ structure in E. tef. RNA sequencing analysis showed that genes related to PCD and cell wall modification are enriched in the AZ at the early seed maturity stage. These data show that E. tef drops its seeds using a unique mechanism. Our results provide the groundwork for understanding grain shattering in Eragrostis and further improvement of shattering in E. tef. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 9, 2024
  3. Abstract Plant cells communicate information for the regulation of development and responses to external stresses. A key form of this communication is transcriptional regulation, accomplished via complex gene networks operating both locally and systemically. To fully understand how genes are regulated across plant tissues and organs, high resolution, multi-dimensional spatial transcriptional data must be acquired and placed within a cellular and organismal context. Spatial transcriptomics (ST) typically provides a two-dimensional spatial analysis of gene expression of tissue sections that can be stacked to render three-dimensional data. For example, X-ray and light-sheet microscopy provide sub-micron scale volumetric imaging of cellular morphology of tissues, organs, or potentially entire organisms. Linking these technologies could substantially advance transcriptomics in plant biology and other fields. Here, we review advances in ST and 3D microscopy approaches and describe how these technologies could be combined to provide high resolution, spatially organized plant tissue transcript mapping. 
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  4. Grapevine 3D inflorescence architecture was comprehensively characterized among 10 wild Vitis species to reveal new phenotypic and evolutionary relationships. 
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