Background: Non-invasive reporter systems are powerful tools to query physiological and transcriptional responses in organisms. For example, fluorescent and bioluminescent reporters have revolutionized cellular and organismal assays and have been used to study plant responses to abiotic and biotic stressors. Integrated, cooled charge-coupled device (CCD) camera systems have been developed to image bioluminescent and fluorescent signals in a variety of organisms; however, these integrated long-term imaging systems are expensive. Results: We have developed self-assembled systems for both growing and monitoring plant fluorescence and bioluminescence for long-term experiments under controlled environmental conditions. This system combines environmental growth chambers with high-sensitivity CCD cameras, multi-wavelength LEDs, open-source software, and several options for coordinating lights with imaging. This easy-to-assemble system can be used for short and long-term imaging of bioluminescent reporters, acute light-response, circadian rhythms, delayed fluorescence, and fluorescent-protein-based assays in vivo. Conclusions: We have developed two self-assembled imaging systems that will be useful to researchers interested in continuously monitoring in vivo reporter systems in various plant species.
- Reporter assay