Life With Eight Flagella: Flagellar Assembly and Division in Giardia

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2010 Aug;13(4):480-90. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2010.05.014. Epub 2010 Jun 25.


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.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Axoneme / metabolism
  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Division
  • Flagella / metabolism*
  • Giardia / cytology*
  • Giardiasis / parasitology*
  • Humans
  • Intestines / microbiology*