Quantification of the BRI1 receptor in planta

G.W. van Esse, A.H. Westphal, R.P. SURENDRAN, C. Albrecht, M.B. van Veen, J.W. Borst, S.C. de Vries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


In plants, green fluorescent protein (GFP) is routinely used to determine the subcellular location of fusion proteins. Here, we show that confocal imaging can be employed to approximate the number of GFP-labeled protein molecules present in living Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) root cells. The technique involves calibration with soluble GFP to provide a usable protein concentration range within the confocal volume of the microscope. As a proof of principle, we quantified the Brassinosteroid Insensitive1 (BRI1) receptor fused to GFP, under control of its own promoter. The number of BRI1-GFP molecules per root epidermal cell ranges from 22,000 in the meristem and 130,000 in the elongation zone to 80,000 in the maturation zone, indicating that up to 6-fold differences in BRI1 receptor content exist. In contrast, when taking into account differences in cell size, BRI1-GFP receptor density in the plasma membrane is kept constant at 12 receptors µm-2 in all cells throughout the meristem and elongation zone. Only the quiescent center and columella cells deviate from this pattern and have 5 to 6 receptors µm-2. Remarkably, root cell sensitivity toward brassinosteroids appears to coincide with uniform meristem receptor density
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1691-1700
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • green fluorescent protein
  • plasma-membrane receptor
  • growth-factor receptors
  • signal-transduction
  • arabidopsis-thaliana
  • kinase bri1
  • gene-expression
  • erbb receptors
  • cell
  • root


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