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Pore it On Open Access


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Stanfield, Ryan
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Balsam poplar--Confocal fluorescence microscopy
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Plants have evolved a number of interesting features to help facilitate the passage of water and sugar around their tissues. One such molecular structure highlighted here in this balsam poplar leaf blade are aquaporins. As the name implies, aquaporins are small pores that carry water- but have also been demonstrated to transport CO2; their widespread occurrence indicate their significance to the plant. The top two major tissue layers are the solar panels of the leaf- containing the sugar producing chloroplasts; we see an abundance of the pores here, potentially to help in CO2 uptake needed to make sugar. In addition, we find a high concentration (signified by red and orange colors) of aquaporins in the leaf veins, where water pressure in particular drives sugar movement. Our research is focused on how sugar moves from shoot to root in trees- and aquaporins are the common facilitator linking manufacturing to transport. Understanding this sugar movement process will allow us to better understand how plants respond to drought and may provide targets for climate change resistant crops. For obtaining the images, I used a Zeiss LSM 700 confocal laser scanning microscope. The tissue samples were prepared by incubating them in antibodies that target aquaporin water channels. The antibodies have fluorescent markers that reflect back laser light to the microscope camera. Once the image was taken, I used Zeiss Zen 2010 software and applied a rainbow color channel, which signifies the intensity of the antibody signal (closer to red means more aquaporin water channels in that area). The image was made from over 50 individual images that were stiched together using Image Pro version 9 software. // Program of Study: Ph.D // Faculty/Department: Renewable Resources // Place of creation: Hacke Laboratory, University of Alberta // Award: Honourable Mention, Images of Research Competition 2016
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