Open Access Research article

Proteomic analysis of the ventral disc of Giardia lamblia

Daniela Lourenço1, Iamara da Silva Andrade1, Letícia Labati Terra2, Patricia Ramos Guimarães3, Russolina Benedeta Zingali34 and Wanderley de Souza124*

Author Affiliations

1 Instituto Nacional de Metrologia, Normalização e Qualidade Industrial - INMETRO, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

2 Laboratório de Ultraestrutura Celular Hertha Meyer, IBCCF, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

3 Unidade de Espectrometria de Massas e Proteômica, Instituto de Bioquímica Médica e Rede Proteômica do Rio de Janeiro, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 21941-902 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

4 Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia em Biologia Estrutural e Bioimagem, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:41  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-41

Published: 19 January 2012



Giardia lamblia is a multiflagellated protozoan that inhabits the small intestine of vertebrates, causing giardiasis. To colonize the small intestine, the trophozoites form of the parasite remains attached to intestinal epithelial cells by means of cytoskeletal elements that form a structure known as the ventral disc. Previous studies have shown that the ventral disc is made of tubulin and giardins.


To obtain further information on the composition of the ventral disc, we developed a new protocol and evaluated the purity of the isolation by transmission electron microscopy. Using 1D- and 2D-PAGE and mass spectrometry, we identified proteins with functions associated with the disc. In addition to finding tubulin and giardin, proteins known to be associated with the ventral disc, we also identified proteins annotated in the Giardia genome, but whose function was previously unknown.


The isolation of the ventral disc shown in this work, compared to previously published protocols, proved to be more efficient. Proteomic analysis showed the presence of several proteins whose further characterization may help in the elucidation of the mechanisms involved in the attachment of the protozoan to epithelial cells.