Flagellar movement in Giardia, a common intestinal parasitic protist, is crucial to its survival in the host. Each axoneme is unique in possessing a long, cytoplasmic portion as well as a membrane-bound portion. Intraflagellar transport (IFT) is required for the assembly of membrane-bound regions, yet the cytoplasmic regions may be assembled by IFT-independent mechanisms. Steady-state axoneme length is maintained by IFT and by intrinsic and active microtubule dynamics. Following mitosis and before their segregation, giardial flagella undergo a multigenerational division cycle in which the parental eight flagella migrate and reposition to different cellular locations; eight new flagella are assembled de novo. Each daughter cell thus inherits four mature and four newly synthesized flagella.
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