All plant-microbe interactions are initiated at the level of the cell. Recently, the light microscope has increased in popularity as an investigative tool in plant cell biology, in part because of the parallel developments of confocal laser scanning and video microscopy, computerized image processing, and an ever-increasing array of fluorescent probes that can be applied to living cells. In addition, transgenic plants and cells can be generated in which specific components are fluorescently labeled without any invasive experimental manipulation. The application of such techniques to plant-microbe interactions has revealed microbe-induced changes in cytosolic calcium levels, the visualization of reactive oxygen species generation, cytoskeleton rearrangements, DNA cleavage, and the detailed resolution of intercellular and intracellular trafficking of viral components. These techniques, integrated with electron microscopy, molecular genetics, and other types of investigations, are likely to play an increasingly important role in future studies of plant responses to microbial pathogens or mutualists.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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