Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Giardia loses its hold on intestinal tissue after 'tonic shock'

04.12.2007
Suggesting new ways to break the parasite's grip

Known in America chiefly as the bane of hikers, the single-celled intestinal parasite Giardia lamblia is a major cause of diarrheal illness worldwide with estimates of 100 million infections a year. The parasite colonizes the upper small intestine by fastening to the microvillus brush border of intestinal cells.

But exactly how Giardia attaches itself was unknown until now. At the American Society for Cell Biology annual meeting, University of California, Berkeley researchers present evidence that Giardia uses an osmotic “suction cup” to hang on, a discovery that could make attachment a prime target for new treatments of Giardia infections.

Osmotic pressure is measured in terms of tonicity, the difference in concentration of a substance in solution on opposite sides of a semipermeable membrane. It is a powerful force in the biological world and tightly regulated in the human body. Tonicity, however, fluctuates in the small intestine during fasting and after eating.

... more about:
»Giardia »TONIC »intestinal »parasite

Using video microscopy, the researchers challenged Giardia attached to different surfaces with conditions of low and high tonicity. The researchers found that Giardia detached rapidly in response to both lowering and raising the tonicity, yet the parasite was able to adapt to a new tonicity after only a few minutes of exposure.

But experiments with Giardia attached to monolayers of human intestinal epithelial cells revealed that a large percentage of the parasites could be forced to detach when exposed to a timed pattern of high and low “tonic shock.”

The researchers believe that the susceptibility of attached Giardia to tonicity changes can be traced to an unusual cellular structure on the parasite called the ventral disk. They believe it acts as a suction cup of sorts but with the “suction” created by osmotic pressure from a concentration imbalance between the outside environment and the fluid trapped beneath the ventral disk.

As a potential focus of treatment, Giardia’s osmotic grip may prove to be its Achilles heel.

John Fleischman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ascb.org

Further reports about: Giardia TONIC intestinal parasite

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Research team creates new possibilities for medicine and materials sciences
22.01.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

nachricht Saarland University bioinformaticians compute gene sequences inherited from each parent
22.01.2018 | Universität des Saarlandes

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Thanks for the memory: NIST takes a deep look at memristors

22.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

Radioactivity from oil and gas wastewater persists in Pennsylvania stream sediments

22.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Saarland University bioinformaticians compute gene sequences inherited from each parent

22.01.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks Wissenschaft & Forschung
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>