Applying spatial transcriptomics in plants

It is a revolutionary new way of looking at cells that is already having an impact across medical science. Now, the close-up lens of spatial transcriptomics is being turned to plants.

The cutting-edge approach allows you to measure the activity of genes in a tissue or cell and use imaging to visually map out where the activity is taking place.

Researchers at the Earlham Institute are using spatial transcriptomics to reveal insights into how individual plant cells are organised – in what is thought to be first-of-its-kind work in the UK.

In April this year the Institute was the first site in the UK to purchase the Vizgen MERSCOPE®.

The platform – based on multiplexed error-robust fluorescence in situ hybridization, or MERFISH – is the first commercially available platform to spatially profile and image the transcriptome at whole tissue section, single-cell, and sub-cellular levels.

Lister explains this allows researchers to look at cell organelle resolution without disturbing the positions of transcripts within the cell. This offers a unique insight into the activity of genes.