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High-throughput Cryopreservation of Plant Cell Cultures for Functional Genomics

Published: Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Last Updated: Tuesday, April 10, 2012
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Here, scientists have developed a simple protocol for cryopreservation of suspension-cultured cells from five commonly used plant species—A. thaliana, Daucus carota, Lotus japonicus, Nicotiana tabacum and Oryza sativa.


Suspension-cultured cell lines from plant species are useful for genetic engineering. However, maintenance of these lines is laborious, involves routine subculturing, and hampers wider use of transgenic lines, especially when many lines are required for a high-throughput functional genomics application. Cryopreservation of these lines may reduce the need for subculturing. Here, we established a simple protocol for cryopreservation of cell lines from five commonly used plant species, Arabidopsis thaliana, Daucus carota, Lotus japonicus, Nicotiana tabacum, and Oryza sativa. The LSP solution (2 M glycerol, 0.4 M sucrose, and 86.9 mM proline) protected cells from damage during freezing and was only mildly toxic to cells kept at room temperature for at least two hours. More than 100 samples were processed for freezing simultaneously. Initially, we determined the conditions for cryopreservation using a programmable freezer; we then developed a modified simple protocol that did not require a programmable freezer. In the simple protocol, a thick expanded-polystyrene (EPS) container containing the vials with the cell/LSP solution mixtures was kept at -30°C for 6 hours to cool the cells slowly (prefreezing); samples from the EPS containers were then plunged into liquid nitrogen before long-term storage. Transgenic Arabidopsis cells were subjected to cryopreservation, thawed, and then re-grown in culture; transcriptome and metabolome analyses indicated that there was no significant difference in gene expression or metabolism between cryopreserved cells and control cells. The simplicity of the protocol will accelerate the pace of research in functional plant genomics.

This article was published online in Plant and Cell Physiology and is free to access.

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