Root-knot nematodes induce galls that contain giant-feeding cells harboring multiple enlarged nuclei within the roots of host plants. It is recognized that the cell cycle plays an essential role in the set-up of a peculiar nuclear organization that seemingly steers nematode feeding site induction and development. Functional studies of a large set of cell cycle genes in transgenic lines of the model host Arabidopsis thaliana have contributed to better understand the role of the cell cycle components and their implication in the establishment of functional galls. Mitotic activity mainly occurs during the initial stages of gall development and is followed by an intense endoreduplication phase imperative to produce giant-feeding cells, essential to form vigorous galls. Transgenic lines overexpressing particular cell cycle genes can provoke severe nuclei phenotype changes mainly at later stages of feeding site development. This can result in chaotic nuclear phenotypes affecting their volume. These aberrant nuclear organizations are hampering gall development and nematode maturation. Herein we report on two nuclear volume assessment methods which provide information on the complex changes occurring in nuclei during giant cell development. Although we observed that the data obtained with AMIRA tend to be more detailed than Volumest (Image J), both approaches proved to be highly versatile, allowing to access 3D morphological changes in nuclei of complex tissues and organs. The protocol presented here is based on standard confocal optical sectioning and 3-D image analysis and can be applied to study any volume and shape of cellular organelles in various complex biological specimens. Our results suggest that an increase in giant cell nuclear volume is not solely linked to increasing ploidy levels, but might result from the accumulation of mitotic defects.
Junior, A. de S., Dijair, J., Pierre, O., Coelho, R.R., Grossi-de-Sa, M.F., Engler, G., and de Almeida Engler, J. (2017). Application of Nuclear Volume Measurements to Comprehend the Cell Cycle in Root-Knot Nematode-Induced Giant Cells. Front. Plant Sci. 8. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2017.00961