Filter cubes made with machine-vision dichroic filters and illuminated with a royal blue light emitting diode can be used to produce an epifluorescent digital camera attachment that improves whole organism green fluorescent protein (GFP) photography. Mean pixel intensity responds linearly to purified GFP titration.
Background and aims
Studies have shown that levels of green fluorescent protein (GFP) leaf surface fluorescence are directly proportional to GFP soluble protein concentration in transgenic plants. However, instruments that measure GFP surface fluorescence are expensive. The goal of this investigation was to develop techniques with consumer digital cameras to analyse GFP surface fluorescence in transgenic plants.
Inexpensive filter cubes containing machine vision dichroic filters and illuminated with blue light-emitting diodes (LED) were designed to attach to digital single-lens reflex (SLR) camera macro lenses. The apparatus was tested on purified enhanced GFP, and on wild-type and GFP-expressing arabidopsis grown autotrophically and heterotrophically.
Spectrum analysis showed that the apparatus illuminates specimens with wavelengths between ∼450 and ∼500 nm, and detects fluorescence between ∼510 and ∼595 nm. Epifluorescent photographs taken with SLR digital cameras were able to detect red-shifted GFP fluorescence in Arabidopsis thaliana leaves and cotyledons of pot-grown plants, as well as roots, hypocotyls and cotyledons of etiolated and light-grown plants grown heterotrophically. Green fluorescent protein fluorescence was detected primarily in the green channel of the raw image files. Studies with purified GFP produced linear responses to both protein surface density and exposure time (H0: β (slope) = 0 mean counts per pixel (ng s mm−2)−1, r2 > 0.994, n = 31, P < 1.75 × 10−29).
Epifluorescent digital photographs taken with complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor and charge-coupled device SLR cameras can be used to analyse red-shifted GFP surface fluorescence using visible blue light. This detection device can be constructed with inexpensive commercially available materials, thus increasing the accessibility of whole-organism GFP expression analysis to research laboratories and teaching institutions with small budgets.