Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


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

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:

Further reports about: Giardia TONIC intestinal parasite

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Gene therapy shows promise for treating Niemann-Pick disease type C1
27.10.2016 | NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute

nachricht 'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape
27.10.2016 | International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>