Photolysis of caged cytokinin in single cells of Arabidopsis thaliana

Lachlan Dow, Russell A. Barrow, Rosemary G. White, Ulrike Mathesius

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Cytokinins are a class of phytohormone that play a crucial role in the development of plants. They are involved in the regulation of nearly every aspect of plant growth, from germination to senescence. The role of cytokinins in many developmental programs is complex and varies both spatially and temporally. Current techniques used to investigate the functions of cytokinins in plant development lack this spatial and temporal resolution required to observe cell-type specific effects.


To this end, we present a method of activating a caged cytokinin in single cells. A caged benzyladenine was synthesized, along with caged adenine as a negative control. In vitro testing confirmed ultraviolet light-mediated uncaging, and subsequent root growth assays demonstrated that uncaging produced a cytokinin phenotype. This uncaging was confined to single cells using multiphoton confocal microscopy. Using an Arabidopsis thaliana cytokinin reporter line expressing TCSn::GFP, the resulting GFP expression was confined to the uncaging region, including in single cells. This study presents a novel cell-targeted method of cytokinin delivery, which has the potential to elucidate a broad range of processes in plant development.


We combined multiphoton confocal microscopy and a caged cytokinin treatment, allowing cell type-specific uncaging of a cytokinin in Arabidopsis roots.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120
Number of pages13
JournalPlant Methods
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2022


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