Eight unique basal bodies in the multi-flagellated diplomonad Giardia lamblia.


Giardia lamblia is an intestinal parasitic protist that causes significant acute and chronic diarrheal disease worldwide. Giardia belongs to the diplomonads, a group of protists in the supergroup Excavata. Diplomonads are characterized by eight motile flagella organized into four bilaterally symmetric pairs. Each of the eight Giardia axonemes has a long cytoplasmic region that extends from the centrally located basal body before exiting the cell body as a membrane-bound flagellum. Each basal body is thus unique in its cytological position and its association with different cytoskeletal features, including the ventral disc, axonemes, and extra-axonemal structures. Inheritance of these unique and complex cytoskeletal elements is maintained through basal body migration, duplication, maturation, and their subsequent association with specific spindle poles during cell division. Due to the complex composition and inheritance of specific basal bodies and their associated structures, Giardia may require novel basal body-associated proteins. Thus, protists such as Giardia may represent an undiscovered source of novel basal body-associated proteins. The development of new tools that make Giardia genetically tractable will enable the composition, structure, and function of the eight basal bodies to be more thoroughly explored

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