Host-Pathogen Responses during Giardia infections
Abstract: Giardia lamblia is a eukaryotic parasite of the upper small intestine of humans and animals. The infecting trophozoite cells do not invade the epithelium lining of the intestine, but attach to the brush border surface in the intestinal lumen. The giardiasis disease in humans is highly variable. Prior to this study, the molecular mechanisms involved in establishment of infection or cause of disease were largely uncharacterized.In this thesis, the molecular relationship between Giardia and the human host is described. The interaction of the parasite with human epithelial cells was investigated in vitro. Changes in the transcriptome and proteome of the parasite and the host cells, and changes in the micro-environment of the infection have been identified using microarray technology, and 1- and 2-Dimensional SDS-PAGE protein mapping together with mass spectrometry identification.The first large-scale description of cellular activities within host epithelial cells during Giardia infection is included in this thesis (Paper I). We identified a unique activation of the host immune response and induction of apoptosis upon infection by Giardia. Four important virulence factors of the parasite, directly linked to the success of Giardia infection, were characterized and are presented in Papers II and III. The parasite was shown to have immune-modulating capacities, and to release proteins during host-interaction that facilitate the establishment of infection. Additional putative virulence factors were found among Giardia genes transcriptionally up-regulated during early infection (Paper IV).In summary, this thesis provides important insights into the molecular mechanisms of the host-parasite interaction.
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