An Insider's Guide to the Microtubule Cytoskeleton of Giardia

Cell Microbiol. 2010 May 1;12(5):588-98. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-5822.2010.01458.x. Epub 2010 Feb 24.


Giardia intestinalis is a zoonotic, parasitic protist with a complex microtubule cytoskeleton critical for motility, attachment, intracellular transport, cell division and transitioning between its two life cycle stages - the cyst and the trophozoite. This review focuses on the structures of the primary elements of the microtubule cytoskeleton and cytoskeletal dynamics throughout this complex giardial life cycle. The giardial cytoskeleton has both highly dynamic elements and more stable MT structures, including several novel structures like the ventral disc that change conformation via unknown mechanisms. While our knowledge of the giardial cytoskeleton is primarily cytological, the completed Giardia genome and recently developed reverse genetic tools affords an opportunity to uncover the mechanisms of Giardia's cytoskeletal dynamics. Fundamental areas of giardial cytoskeletal biology remain to be explored, including high resolution imaging and compositional characterization of cytoskeletal structures required for elucidating the molecular mechanisms of cytoskeletal functioning.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Giardia lamblia / cytology*
  • Giardia lamblia / metabolism
  • Microtubules / metabolism*
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism*


  • Protozoan Proteins