Improved Methods for Preparing Transverse Sections and Unrolled Whole Mounts of Maize Leaf Primordia for Fluorescence and Confocal Imaging

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In maize (Zea mays) and other grasses (Poaceae), the leaf primordia are deeply ensheathed and rolled within the leaf whorl, making it difficult to study early leaf development. Here, we describe methods for preparing transverse sections and unrolled whole mounts of maize leaf primordia for fluorescence and confocal imaging. The first method uses a wire stripper to remove the upper portions of older leaves, exposing the tip of the leaf primordium and allowing its measurement for more accurate transverse section sampling. The second method uses clear, double-sided nano tape to unroll and mount whole-leaf primordia for imaging. We show the utility of the two methods in visualizing and analyzing fluorescent protein reporters in maize. These methods provide a solution to the challenges presented by the distinctive morphology of maize leaf primordia and will be useful for visualizing and quantifying leaf anatomical and developmental traits in maize and other grass species.