Behind the smile: cell biology and disease mechanisms of Giardia species

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2010 Jun;8(6):413-22. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2317. Epub 2010 Apr 19.


The eukaryotic intestinal parasite Giardia intestinalis was first described in 1681, when Antonie van Leeuwenhoek undertook a microscopic examination of his own diarrhoeal stool. Nowadays, although G. intestinalis is recognized as a major worldwide contributor to diarrhoeal disease in humans and other mammals, the disease mechanisms are still poorly understood. Owing to its reduced complexity and proposed early evolutionary divergence, G. intestinalis is used as a model eukaryotic system for studying many basic cellular processes. In this Review we discuss recent discoveries in the molecular cell biology and pathogenesis of G. intestinalis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigenic Variation
  • Diarrhea / microbiology
  • Giardia lamblia / cytology
  • Giardia lamblia / growth & development
  • Giardia lamblia / pathogenicity*
  • Giardiasis / etiology
  • Giardiasis / parasitology
  • Humans
  • Life Cycle Stages
  • Phylogeny
  • Trophozoites / cytology
  • Virulence Factors / classification


  • Virulence Factors