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Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 2002 Apr;51(4):213-24.

Video-microscopy observations of fast dynamic processes in the protozoon Giardia lamblia.

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Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Dept. de Histologia e Embriologia, Laboratório de Microscopia e Processamento de Imagens, Maracaná Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.


Video-microscopy in combination with digital image processing was used to analyze dynamic processes associated to the life cycle of Giardia lamblia trophozoites. These parasites swim and attach to the epithelial cells, producing the disease known as Giardiasis. Giardia is a multiflagellar cell, presenting 4 pairs of flagella. With the use of analogue and digital tools, we observed that in cells attached to glass slides only 2 of the 4 pairs present active beating (wave propagation). The frequency observed was 17-18 Hz to the anterior and 8-11 Hz to the ventral flagella. These data resulted from several hours of recording using both analogue video and high-speed digital camera. The caudal pair did not show active beating patterns and the same holds true for the posterior one. In this latter pair, oscillations were observed, but they were always associated to the transit of the wave produced by the ventral pair. The analysis performed with free moving cells showed that during its forward dislocation, Giardia lamblia presented either a lateral rocking or a complete rotational (tumbling) movement around its longitudinal axis. A dislocation of the caudal region of the cell both in the lateral and dorso-ventral direction was observed. This movement was completely independent from the flagellar beating and it is likely to be produced by a microtubular complex located in the caudal portion of the cell. The adhesion process of Giardia lamblia was also followed by video-microscopy and the data showed that the ventral disk had an active participation in this process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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